In Hot Water?

Have you ever felt like you’re about to be in hot water? You know that feeling: Your name’s about to be called or all eyes are on you or you’re plunging headfirst into img_3174uncharted territory. There’s a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Your breathing repetitions increase. A seemingly logical dread swamps your thinking.

And then nothing bad happens.

Or maybe something bad does happen.

Whichever outcome, there’s hope in Psalm 51, verses 11 and 12.

In this deeply repentant song, we see David’s heart–repentant, sorrowful, honest. And talk about deep water. David’s deep water incident had just become known to the prophet, Nathan, and Nathan had just confronted David with his sin with Bathsheba. David felt very humbled and very convicted that he had sinned against God. Click on the blue link and you can read the whole tragic story narrated in 2 Samuel 11 and 12.

Now let’s look back at Psalm 51. In verse 1, David opens with a searing cry for mercy based on the steadfast love of God.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!”

Have you ever cried out for mercy in the middle of that hot water moment? I certainly have. Sometimes it’s been through tears. Sometimes it’s been with eyes wide open. Mercy. Lord, have mercy on me.

Now let’s look further down the chapter at verse 12.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

Isn’t our greatest plea for mercy answered most wholly with restoration? And the most wonderful restoration of all, which is the restoration of the joy from God’s salvation. We see that joy of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 and numerous other  New Testament verses attest to that. The latter half of the verse asks God to grant us a willing spirit to bolster us on. How can we be assured of that?

We just have to read verse 17. Here, David illustrates the sacrifice that pleases God, and shows his heart of hope:

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

When we have those moments  when we’re about to fall into that pot of boiling water, so to speak, or even trials of more temperate natures, a broken and contrite heart and a sincere prayer to be upheld and given a willing spirit, is heard by the God of lovingkindness and steadfast love. Our broken spirit, our broken and contrite, sorrowful heart is the evidence of and the reason for our cry for mercy. And it is answered in the restoration of forgiveness and the assurance of joy that comes from knowing Christ, our salvation.

Then, we might just realize anew that God can bring something good even out of boiling water trials. (img_3175Remember James 1 and Romans 8:28?) Sure, our dinner was tasty, but I mean something more. Deeper faith. Wisdom. Remembering God is good and faithful even in hot water times. Remembering Jesus Christ is our deepest, truest joy in all times.

 

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Mixed Up/Messed Up–You, too?

Well, it’s been two weeks in the new-to-us old house and we’re thankful to be here, safe and sound. I’d attach a photo, but I’m not sure where my phone is at the moment, and I have no idea where a camera might be, if we even still have one! Suffice it to say that it’s a tan Cape Cod with black shutters and a steep, ivy-covered front yard. That sounds straight-forward, but there are things we’re learning about this little house; it seems to have its own sleepy personality–and a sense of humor.

We moved into cold-water-only plumbing, which we discovered when we tried the hot water. To be truthful, it was hot–but it was rusty. My husband, hot from unloading the truck, took a quick shower without turning on the light. When he came downstairs, I saw him and thought he’d gotten a tan! So, it was quick “cool” rinse-offs and “borrowing” showers at a relative’s house for a week. We choose to call it our summer adventure–and, thankfully, it ended happily: a new hot water heater was delivered and installed on my birthday!

Next, we learned all the locks turn backwards. You would’ve gotten a good laugh along with the family if you’d been with us this morning as we left for worship. There I was, the last man out, so to speak, fiddling with the key this way–then that–just trying to lock the back door. I’ve got the front door down though. Being left-handed, it kind of feels normal in a curious way.

We’ve done most of the unpacking and can almost find our way around in the dark without bumping into a precarious tower of boxes. Bathroom tiles (those timeless black and white patterns) have had a good cleaning, and we’ve made a initial attack on the weeds in the front yard. That all sounds good, doesn’t it? But there’s a DARK SIDE!! No, not really, but there IS more:

1. Boxes of books and boxes of pictures still wait for walls to be painted–and I can’t decide which color to choose! (Have you seen how many colors there are in your local home improvement warehouse??!!)

2. Amid the weeds was poison ivy–evil, stealthy, mean poison ivy. (Is there any other kind?) Despite my best attempts to avoid it, it got me and my arms bear witness.

3. And we’re still waiting on the “diverter” for the shower. Apparently, this piece makes all of the water go up to the shower head (the optimal plan) as opposed to letting half of the water still come out of the tub faucet.

Then what comes to mind? James! “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastnesses. And let steadfastnesses have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

So, I will look at the above 1, 2, and 3 items as :

1. I can choose cheerful colors to paint our walls!
2. There are fewer weeds–and cortisone cream!
3. We have warm water!

And above everything else, I have a heavenly Father who loves me and sent His Son to die for me, poison ivy and all. And you do, too, dear friend. Let’s choose joy!