Fathom Mag (my favorite Christian magazine) recently offered up a writing contest- your own paraphrase of a Psalm in honor of Eugene Peterson who recently went home. I didn’t submit a piece to Fathom because I’ve done some re-prioritization this past couple weeks. I’ve stepped back from putting out effort to write anything besides my own journal entries, curriculum thoughts for the children’s ministry at my church, and my evidence-based practice project for my BSN (which is completed on December 2nd- there is light at the end of the tunnel…). But chewing on the Psalms helps my heart so much. So I thought I’d give a go at Psalm 42 in my paraphrase here.
Like the goats on my farm
hang their tongues out their mouths,
standing round the water troughs
in the punishing Arizona summers,
everything in me thirsts for you God.
The mouth of my soul is parched
I’m thirsty for this God
I’ve never seen but love.
For the God who made
spring streams in the desert
and stars that dust the night sky.
I long for the God I read about
in my Bible.
When will I get to stand in front of him?
I can’t see him but I love him
and I ache for him.
I feel a deep satisfaction when I
sob into my pillow at night
and raise my tear stained face to heaven during the day.
A quenching of my thirst.
People I love, people around me
they don’t see my God either
and sometimes they mock me.
“What god? Where?”
I know you’re real
I’ve drunk from your waters
I sob and ache deep
longing for them to know
longing for them to see
longing to see myself
remembering the times
I’ve joined with people I don’t know
to raise hands, and tears and confessions
and then shouts and smiles and cheers
because we’ve drunk from your
deep waters and now only you will satisfy.
So why am I so depressed?
Why is my gut in knots
and my stomach burning with acid?
Self, why are you so hopeless?
This God you’ve never seen but love
he is your hope!
You’ve tasted. You know. He’s real.
He ripped you out of a dark pit of hopelessness
and set you on a high hill of confidence.
He is your hope.
I ask you self, why?
But I know you have no answers.
You just are where you are.
You’re down there in a pit.
But listen to me.
Remember when you didn’t even care?
Remember when Jesus meant nothing to you?
Remember when you didn’t love God or people?
That’s where Jesus showed up and took you by the hand.
That’s where he called you daughter.
Just like he rescued you then
he’ll never stop rescuing you.
And when he pulls you out of this pit
you’ll raise your hands
tears streaming down your face
and kiss him again.
Amen! Amen! My heart aches
deep within me
echoing the sounds of God-
truth rushing over me like
a wave crashing against the rocks
and my soul responds
“Yes! Yes!” like cymbals
responding to your deep roar.
I’ve been in a pit
but all day long
this God I’ve never seen but love
he’s been moving mountains
to love me
he’s been singing how he loves me
all night long while I sleep.
My life is like a whispered, hopeful
“Thank you Lord!”
I look around
from this high place of worship
from this sweet taste of
from the God I’ve never seen but love
and I start sinking.
“Why am I sinking God!? Are you here? Did you forget me?”
The accusing voice in my head threatens.
“There’s no point!”
“You mind as well give up.”
I sink beneath the weight of the thought.
It’s as though I have cancer in my bones
and there’s no shaking the voice that
condemns me to hopelessness.
Like the threat of malignant cells
these threats accuse me of being deluded,
of hoping against hope in the God I’ve never seen.
Oh self! Why do you give in so easily?
Why are you so depressed?
Don’t hope in threats.
Hope in the God who you have never seen but love.
One day this dark fog of hopelessness
will give way to the truth
and without sinking ever again
you’ll see the one you love
and oh what endless shouts of thankfulness
will pour from your mouth toward him.