Posts Tagged ‘God’

The Thirteenth Psalm

Posted: January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
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How long, O Lord, will this jaw ache?
How long, O Lord, will you ignore me as it keeps me awake?
How long must I wait? How many operations will it take?
How long shall my enemy pursue me, and my life seem so totally pointless and ‘on-hold’?

O God, show up! Come to my aid and help me;
Give me hope, increase my faith; surround me with your love and the strength to face another day.

Don’t let my enemy say: “I have won! She’s so useless; such a failure and pathetic!”
Neither let him celebrate as I languish here in pain, taunting me with those words again – “you’re the one that never made it”.

But in spite of all this, I choose to trust in you Jesus;
whilst somewhat uncertain and afraid, I place my hand in yours.
I will sing to you, even though it hurts my jaw; for you have provided me with wheat bags, codeine, a comfortable pillow, and a beautiful niece who has brought Hammy Hamster over for the weekend, and for that I give you thanks!


‘When Silence Falls’ was an album released by Tim Hughes in 2004. There’s a song on the album entitled: ‘When the Tears Fall’ – I felt compelled to listen to it again the other day. It’s basically a song about God being with us as we go through the shit, and about us praising God in the midst of pain, and confusion, and despair. Here are a few of the lyrics…


I’ve had questions without answers
I’ve known sorrow, I have known pain
But there’s one thing that I cling to
You are faithful, Jesus You’re true

When hope is lost
I call You Saviour
When pain surrounds
I call You Healer
When silence falls
You’ll be the song within my heart

In the lone hour of my sorrow
Through the darkest night of my soul
You surround me, You sustain me
My defender for ever more

When silence falls…

I was struck recently by the inauguration of Pope Francis, who as he stood on ‘the balcony’ asked the millions gathered to pray for him in the silence. There was power in the silence, it projected something of sheer beauty and peace. It spoke far more than words, it spoke of a man of integrity and humility, a man of prayer, a man of the people and a man for the people.

Silence is increasingly difficult to find. Often we are all too quick to speak, to fix things, to find the answers. Perhaps if we listened a bit more, and said a lot less then we might actually begin to hear the still small voice of God.

When silence falls…


The song finishes with:

I will praise You
I will praise You
When the tears fall
Still I will sing to you
I will praise You
Jesus I will praise You
Through the suffering
Still I will sing to you

When all laughter fails to comfort
When my heart aches, Lord are you there
When confusion is all around me
And the darkness is my closest friend
Still I’ll praise You
Jesus praise You

We will all at some point go through the shit, some perhaps more so than others, but no-one is immune. I recently heard of a 50 year old dying from a heart attack, a 22 year old having a stroke, and a 5 year old dying from non-hodgkin lymphoma. Life can be shit. It hurts, it’s unfair, and it’s damn well cruel sometimes.

I’ve spent most of this week in bed, in constant pain, waiting for yet another operation that never comes. Unable to do anything except wait, wait in the silence, a very long and deafening silence. Sometimes even pleading with God to just take me away to a better place. I mean, anything has got to be better than this, surely?

However, there are times when silence says far more than words ever could. There are times when words just aren’t enough. And, we often find that it’s there, in the silence where we have a choice, – to reject God or to embrace him. It’s there, in the silence where we come to the end of ourselves and try desperately in the darkness to grab a hold of God – sometimes we find him, other times he feels a million miles away, but we are to make that choice nevertheless.

I’m reminded of a guy in the Bible called Job who when going through real hardship and difficulty says: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Basically, in a nutshell he is saying: “life is fragile and it’s pretty shit at times – but I’m gonna praise you anyway, because you are God and are worthy of my praise!”

All too often we think of ‘praise’ as being something loud, wacky and extravert – something we do when we are happy, when there is something to celebrate. Surely, there is far more to praising God than warm ‘fuzzy’ feelings? Surely, God is interested in every aspect of our lives, not just the ‘good’ bits? Of course, he delights in the ‘good’ bits, but he also wants us to praise him when we find ourselves in that place of anger, pain, hurt, and confusion – and that is hard.

I’ve found great comfort and encouragement this week from Psalm 65 where it says: ‘Silence is to praise you.’

Perhaps there are times then when silence is enough… perhaps sometimes worship is silence and that’s ok.


‘I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I cannot feel it. I believe in God, even when he is silent.’ (Jewish prisoner – 1940’s)


Yesterday whilst painting the shed I decided to listen to some music on my iPhone. I had no idea what I wanted to listen to or even if I wanted to listen to it at all, so I did what any good Anglican would do at this point, – I pressed the ‘shuffle’ button and waited to ‘see’ what would happen…

Ok, so what happened next?

Well… I wasn’t abducted by aliens or anything weird like that, I didn’t drop my phone in the tin of paint, neither did my phone start to ring – No… instead, as you’d expect, it started to play music.

Now… whilst I’d heard this song many times before, I’d never really ‘listened’ to the lyrics. (That didn’t matter though, I now had plenty of time to learn them because what I had failed to realise was that although my phone was on ‘shuffle’, it was also on ‘repeat’, and mean as though I was covered in paint at the time, I had no choice but to listen to the same track again, and again, and again…)

It was a song by ‘Rend Collective’ called ‘Broken Bread’. The song speaks of the need to allow God into every aspect of our lives and is about surrendering ourselves fully into his hands, and allowing him to use us as he chooses.

What struck me though were the words: ‘Your will done your way.’

How often do we want to do God’s will, but do it ‘our’ way?

It reminded me of a book I read a few years ago by John Ortberg. Using the illustration of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land, Ortberg refers to God as the God of ‘the roundabout way’, as instead of the journey taking a few weeks, it ends up taking 40 years! Why? Well, – initially because God didn’t want to lead them via the land of the Philistines as they probably would have just retreated back to Egypt in fear and trembling. However, God knew best, and instead he led them via an alternative route, in order to build their character and to form them as a people.

He does the same today, and whilst it often ‘sucks’ at the time, life in the desert has loads of benefits. It’s in the desert where we often experience strength and courage that we never knew existed, it’s in the desert where we often experience something more of the love of God, and it is in the desert where we often find healing and above all else – hope.

Life doesn’t always turn out how we expect… and I guess if it did then it would be pretty boring and predictable! It’s certainly frustrating though and pretty scary at times, but if we are obedient then he will do the rest.

Here, Lord, is my life. I place it on the altar today. Use it as you will. (Albert Schweitzer)