How are you?
Fine how are you?
The words pop out of my mouth so quickly I wonder if I have a condition.
I feel robotic and conditioned to speak these words.
I even say them at the grocery store to the meat counter lady.
Fine… How are you?
I recognize it’s our culture. The way we greet each other.
But often in repeating this, we lie.
Sometimes I stop and think… No, I’m not really fine, but I’ve got nothing.
I can’t say it.
And so I smile…
While I don’t advocate running around making everyone my shrink I think something else may be better to say when I’m not okay.
Why can’t we say we aren’t ok?
We got troubles. And that’s the truth. We all do. And we all know it. But to speak it seems…well…weak.
How about taking off the mask for one day?
Sharing the pain with one person.
Let’s start with God.
He Is our Father.
And yet, we try to fool him.
Like somehow he doesn’t know.
We try to “brace ourselves” and be joyful.
But some days its just not there.
The joy has gone a-wall and we are left with broken dreams and promises.
Maybe we don’t even know why we feel upset.
So we press on.. masking.
But the problem doesn’t go away.
It haunts us. We feel it lurking there in the shadows.
And while we push it down it starts to leak out our shoes, and then our fingers, and finally our eyeballs.
Until we finally face it.
We are real people, and God knows our frame.
He knows the pinpoint issue that makes us feel like we are crazy.
A person who gets mad, and sad, and cries, or laughs at the wrong time. A real soul who blushes out of embarrassment when imperfect or finds it hard to hold the tongue when their buttons are pushed. A person who can’t get over the grief that life has handed them, or is angry because of past hurts. A heart that has been hardened because of bitter roots. Or tender because of present pain.
David was one of those people.
He has many different voices…but I never hear him say, “I’m fine”.
In fact his book is full of many colorful sounds..
Laments, and Praise, Anger and Surrender. Laughter and Pain. Joy and Weeping. Hope and defeat. Fear and Trust.
In order to live lives that are real and fully free we must be willing to speak truth to our maker.
What do you need to say to him?
What is it that is stinkin up your house?
This is what the Psalmist said…
Psalm 77 (The Message)
An Asaph Psalm
1 I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens.
2-6 I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord;
my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal.
When friends said, “Everything will turn out all right,”
I didn’t believe a word they said.
I remember God—and shake my head.
I bow my head—then wring my hands.
I’m awake all night—not a wink of sleep;
I can’t even say what’s bothering me.
I go over the days one by one,
I ponder the years gone by.
I strum my lute all through the night,
wondering how to get my life together.
7-10 Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?
Will he never smile again?
Is his love worn threadbare?
Has his salvation promise burned out?
Has God forgotten his manners?
Has he angrily stalked off and left us?
“Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business
just the moment I need him.”
11-12 Once again I’ll go over what God has done,
lay out on the table the ancient wonders;
I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished,
and give a long, loving look at your acts.
13-15 O God! Your way is holy!
No god is great like God!
You’re the God who makes things happen;
you showed everyone what you can do—
You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble,
rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph.
Or we can hear David’s cry in this…
A David Psalm
1 Listen and help, O God. I’m reduced to a whine
And a whimper, obsessed
with feelings of doomsday.
Almost every single time he cries out or speaks of trouble he ends up with recounting the faithfulness of God. It’s like he’s reminding himself that although there is mourning today…Joy will come.
God will be the victor.
One of the passages I love is Psalm 116…
Here it is from the message.
Psalm 116:1-19 (The Message)
I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out.
“Save my life!”
God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
God takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.
7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
God has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”
9-11 I’m striding in the presence of God,
alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”
12-19 What can I give back to God
for the blessings he’s poured out on me?
I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!
I’ll pray in the name of God;
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
and I’ll do it together with his people.
When they arrive at the gates of death,
God welcomes those who love him.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant,
your faithful servant: set me free for your service!
I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice
and pray in the name of God.
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
and I’ll do it in company with his people,
In the place of worship, in God’s house,
in Jerusalem, God’s city.
I’m not always fine.
But I am free.