Monday, March 2, 2009

Turmoil, Toil and Trouble - Double Trouble

This is a tempestous time.

Of the twelve men Moses sent out in reconnoissance - ten have been killed by God. God sentences the entire group to forty years of wandering in the dry and parched desert - one year for every day the demoralized scouts spent in Caanan.

God offers to kill the whole lot and start over. Moses pleads with Him to reconsider.

A group of guys valiantly and foolishly decide they will march into Caanan and "kick butt." God says "No." Moses says "No" and they go anyway. They are immediately and easily routed. Many die.

Then we read a prayer that Moses offered at this time. It is Psalm 90. Its language is exalted, but also piteous.

1 -2 "God, it seems you've been our home forever;
long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
from "once upon a time" to "kingdom come"
—you are God. "

He goes on...

"Are we no more to you than a wispy dream,
no more than a blade of grass
That springs up gloriously with the rising sun
and is cut down without a second thought?
Your anger is far and away too much for us;
we're at the end of our rope."

My favorite part...

"We live for seventy years or so
(with luck we might make it to eighty),
And what do we have to show for it? Trouble.
Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard."

This part of his prayer I make my own...

12 -17 "Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
then we'll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you're best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do! "

Sometimes the times of greatest turmoil and trouble create the closest relationship with God...

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