about writing and life and God

Psalms and ceilings

on January 18, 2013

I love the Old Testament. As a Scottish Presbyterian, I remember learning chunks of it in Sunday School – the 23rd Psalm, the Aaronic blessing, the Ten Commandments, Ruth’s ‘Beseech me not to leave thee’ speech. I loved the stories and the larger than life people including Samson and Goliath!

But it is only now, much later, slow learner that I am, that I can see the history of the Children of Israel as a metaphor for all human life including my own.

From whatever starting point, there appears to be an inevitable cycle of sin — disaster — appeal for help from God — rescue — nice place — sin — and on round it goes. Human beings appear to have very poor memories, even those without dementia!

Today being Friday should have been outing-with-my-husband day but the snow has made driving dodgy and the icy pavements would make walking unsafe for both of us so I cancelled.

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But by Wednesday he was disoriented and rang, thinking Friday was the next day and that we were going out. And then again on Thursday, thinking it was Friday.

It seems so obvious to the rest of us what day it is. And where we are. And what is happening. But a large proportion of folk on this earth appear to be completely oblivious to God. Who created everything. Who runs everything. Who keeps it – and us – all going.

A friend had a Dalmatian that gave birth to a fine healthy litter of pups. She kept them safely in a large pen in the warmth of her kitchen. As far as the pups were concerned, it was Dalmatian mum who was in charge and running their lives and providing for them. As far as Dalmatian mum was concerned, it was her human owner who saw to all that stuff.

But her human owner knew it was her employer who paid her salary that enabled her to buy dog food… And then if you follow up the ladder of who is in charge, where do you get to? God, of course.

But many seem to have lost that part of their awareness, just as my husband has lost touch with what day of the week it is.

In pre-feminist days, there was a very real glass ceiling for those of us who wanted to have a career. Most men were unaware of it – and even we women sometimes had a shock when we found ourselves bumped up against it. I know I did!

If you don’t have God in your life, where is your ceiling? Where does the buck stop? It strikes me it must be a very low ceiling, lower even than the Dalmatian pups’ mum, because without God, you end up having to rely on other fallible people … or yourself. Proverbs 28:26 says ‘He who trusts in himself is a fool’.

The alternative is to turn to God and trust in Him. If we come to Him in honesty about the mess we’ve made of our lives and our need for His care, in the name of Jesus Christ who died for us, we will find forgiveness and a new start – not one more run round that cycle of sin and disaster.

And that’s what the New Testament is about.


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