Plea for Grace

[Psa 56:1-13 CSB] 1 Be gracious to me, God, for a man is trampling me; he fights and oppresses me all day long. 2 My adversaries trample me all day, for many arrogantly fight against me. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? 5 They twist my words all day long; all their thoughts against me are evil. 6 They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps while they wait to take my life. 7 Will they escape in spite of such sin? God, bring down the nations in wrath. 8 You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? 9 Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere humans do to me? 12 I am obligated by vows to you, God; I will make my thank offerings to you. 13 For you rescued me from death, even my feet from stumbling, to walk before God in the light of life. 

I don’t normally use my blog postings to discuss my health stuff . . .having said that . . .

For the last two days my system has been “building up” to a really nasty autoimmune flare. I’ve been dealing with this stuff long enough that I can feel when something is coming on (those of you who have arthritic ankles that ache just before it rains will understand). Here is the humbling thing for this recovering perfectionist/control/plan person — though there are things I can do to lessen the effects of the flare, to clear my schedule so that the flare doesn’t cause even more stress; I cannot control exactly when it will hit, or exactly how long it will stay. I can’t even control which systems will ultimately flare!

In crying out to the Lord ([Psa 18:6 CSB] 6 I called to the LORD in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.) Psalm 56 came to mind. Anyone else so incredibly grateful that Psalm 18:6 is true?!

Granted, David is not battling an autoimmune flare. He has actually people lying about him, tarnishing his reputation, hunting him down to kill him. Yet, 2 Timothy 3:16 is equally true. ALL Scripture is breathed out by God. All is profitable. . .

I stopped at David’s first request — be gracious to me, God. Oh, I so need God’s grace! I know He is Sovereign. I know He is good. I know He is always with me. . .but when the “why” questions overshadow the “why not;” when the “how long this time” and “why now” questions try to push out the truth of God’s Word, I so depend on God’s grace. He does not ridicule me because the fight is hard.

Next, David spells out exactly why he is crying to God for grace. This actually requires humility. I so want to pretend that I don’t really have these symptoms, that if I just had the willpower . . .but today my nerves in my hands and feet feel like someone is doing shock collar practice; my vision is blurred; I can’t seem to focus; and I feel like I am trying to breathe through one of those teeny red coffee stirrers. Fighting panic, and telling my systems that I really can breathe, no one is really shocking me, I can actually see, is such an effort.

When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose Word I praise . . . Not ‘if’ I am afraid, but ‘when.’ God is not shocked and appalled by my battle. He actually provides a place to go, and weapons to fight. His Word, His presence. God’s care is so personal. Keeping count of my wanderings — not to hold them over my head in condemnation, but to remind me that He has been there every single time. Putting my tears in his bottle (though there are times I am convinced it’s more like the 5-gallon gas can); and then, the apex — this I know, that God is for me . . .He truly is. He is for me. I am His.

So, now what? I continue to obey my God who is for me. I am thankful for so much, including that I have His Word and His Presence so that I don’t feel that I am going through any of this in my own strength. Left to my own devices . . .no, thank you . . .and because of His care, and his answer to that Psalm 18:6 plea, I know that God has rescued me from death, he keeps my feet from stumbling (into believing lies about God and choosing to sin because what’s the point in obedience and trust?), and the hope (read surety) that I will be with God one day, no flares, no pain, no fighting to trust and obey.

And at least I can still knit. I don’t need to see well, and it helps to distract from the pain and difficulty breathing. And, there’s . . .


[Psa 19:12-14 CSB] 12 Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. 13 Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule me. Then I will be blameless and cleansed from blatant rebellion. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. 

God is ever-present, never-changing, all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign. He has revealed himself and his ways, not only in the magnificence of creation, but also in his Word, which is sufficient and true.

How does the psalmist apply these truths? He looks at his actions, and at his motives. First, the unintentional sins (ESV who can discern his errors) —  these “hidden faults” can be sins that we cover up so well that no one knows about them; they can also be blind spots that we are so good at justifying or excusing that we don’t even consider them sin anymore.

But the psalmist goes even deeper in this “soul cleaning.” Keep me back from willful (ESV presumptuous) sins; don’t let them rule (or have dominion over) me. Willful and presumptuous are polite words for deadly attitudes. It can be the “I am going to do what I want to do, and I don’t care if you think it’s wrong because it makes me feel good.” Presumption can also be “hey, I’ve got this temptation under control; I don’t need to ‘flee’ this time; I got this thing beat!” Pride and self-righteousness are tyrants. They come in with soft, smooth words, but end up as deadly and despicable rulers. They lead to all kinds of blame and blatant rebellion . . .

And then the psalmist’s cry out to God — and mine, too — take my heart attitudes, the places no one sees, as well as the words I say ([Luk 6:45 CSB] 45 “A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.) and bring them under your sovereign rule. Show me my blind spots. Expose my justifications and excuses. Cleanse from my rebellion against your law.  God, you are my Redeemer. You are my unchanging Rock. You are God.


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