Friday, April 12, 2013

Defensive End

While making school lunch and replenishing diabetes supplies for my son this morning, an old church hymn suddenly popped into my head.  It wasn't a favorite.  I actually never particularly cared for it...a bit too 4/4 time and stoic for my artistic sensibilities.  But there it was, the refrain resounding over and over again.

"For You are my God.
You alone are my joy.
Defend me, O Lord."

"What does that even mean?" I thought.
Defend me against what?

Round and round it went while I continued my morning.
While I ironed the clothes.  (For You are my God...)
While I fried the eggs.  (You alone are my joy...)
While I filled the school water bottle.  (Defend me, O Lord...)

I have felt on the defensive this week. 
You know those days? 
Where you just feel a bit "off." 
A bit anxious. 
A bit sickly. 
A bit gassy. 
A bit itchy. 
And a lot like you may burst into tears at any moment. 
Do you know those earthly moments?

"You give marvelous comrades to me:  the faithful who dwell in Your land.  Those who choose alien gods have chosen an alien band."

1st verse of the song now playing full and loud.  "Yeah, yeah, I've got good friends.  They mirror You.  Bring You more fully to me.  And thank You, by the way.  But, really, what is going on here?"

"For You are my God.
You alone are my joy.
Defend me, O Lord."

That common time was echoing like a marching band now. 
Okay, let's get to the root of the cause. 
"Yes, You are my God, Lord," I thought. 
"Of course, You are my joy.  You know that I feel that way by now, I hope. 
I hope I tell You enough? 
I hope you know I get it. 
But defend me?  Defend me against what?  The forces of evil?  My last blog post? 
(Clearly still not sitting right with me, Lord, but that's a subject for another day, yes?)
Show me, please. 
Reveal the message. 

A searing realization to the brain.
A moment of clarity.
And then a question.

"What do you do when you're defending against yourself?"

Ah, yes.  As it has been for the greatest portion of my life, I, again, am my own worst enemy.  Doubting Thomas.  (Poor Thomas.  Such a bad rap when we're all so guilty of doubting Your presence.  I wonder if "DoubtingCynthia" would catch on?)  Wondering how I could possibly be chosen to represent.  Insulting You with my complaints and feelings of inadequacy.

"You are my portion and cup.  It is You that I claim for my prize.  Your heritage is my delight.  The lot You have given to me."

Verse two, show me the way.
Yes, as long as You are my portion, I have won the world.  My lot and my gifts are Yours.  As I read this morning, the most beautiful and inspiring words by Janice Elsheimer, "Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God through us to the world."  Yes, Lord,  my share of You is abundant.

"Glad are my heart and my soul; securely my body shall rest.  For you will not leave me for dead nor lead your beloved astray."

Verse three healing the itching, the heaving, the weeping and the fear.  Verse three securing this body, this holy vessel, for my walk with You; for the strength to carry You with me to the world.

"You show me the path for my life.  In Your presence is fullness of joy.  To be at your right hand forever for me would be happiness always."

Okay, Lord, I'm willing to overlook the lyricist's attempt to fit the last two phrases into the same musical dictates in order to include the words "forever" and "always."  I get it.  You wanted those infinite words to reach our hearts and stay planted.  To show us that standing under your right hand IS our path...forever and always.

So when asked again:  "What do you do when you're defending against yourself?"
The answer is listen.
Listen for strains of His music holding your heart's answers.
Listen for Him singing to you in the words of the ages and the melodies of His care.
The answer is trust.
Trust that your path is intentional.
That He has you right where He wants you.
That He has equipped you for every challenge you encounter.
The answer is rest.
Rest in His hands, in His tender embrace.
Rest in the knowledge that He's got you.

Listen.  Trust.  Rest.
And that marching band will subside into the very recesses of your faith.

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