East of Eden
Lent- Day 17- My spirit faints.
As a kid, I just couldn't understand the Israelites. Why, after God delivered them out of slavery in Egypt, would they so quickly turn to making a golden calf to worship as a god? And then, as if that wasn't bad enough, the minute they get their first real challenge, they started complaining "Oh, we were better off in bondage" and "It would've been better if we had died in the wilderness". I asked my parents, Sunday School teacher (who happened to be my grandma), and finally, my brother Joe, "What was wrong with them? How could they forget so quickly all that God had done?"
Then I grew up.
Newly 18, and faced with adult problems- needing a job during college, getting dumped by my first love, having the biggest fight with my dad that left us not speaking for months- I began struggling with my faith in the Lord. Looking back, I am shocked out how quickly I had forgotten all the blessings in my life. In my senior year of high school, having no idea of how I would pay for college, I applied to Kean University in February, which was pretty late. Not only did I get accepted, but they awarded me a full, five year academic scholarship... for which I had not even applied. Grant money wound up covering books, transportation and other costs.
Pretty sweet, right? As my cousin John might say, God had showed up and shown out.
Yet just a year later, the show in my head was the "Alisha Pity-Party".
My devotional reading for the day comes from Psalm 77. It reveals a range of emotions- and a great way to cope with worries:
1I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
2When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.
3I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
5I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
6I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7“Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?
8Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?
9Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
Pretty bleak, right? Keep reading:
10Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?
14You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
15With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
17The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.
18Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.
19Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
20You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
The Psalmist was feeling all kinds of despondent, so he takes a page from the past, meditating on all the times God had promised and delivered, even referencing Moses and Aaron. Bazinga! That really tied up this post quite nicely.
Reflection for the day: When my spirit is in need of smelling salts, think on all of the many, many, many times God has blessed me!