Do me a favor and please read Psalm 94.
Our psalm is one of patience in the midst of life. Patience with others and patience in life with God. It’s a psalm that speaks to me personally because I struggle with both of these. With that being said it’s time for me to get real with you. I have two struggles in life: other people…and God.
Am I alone in this? Probably not.
I think all of us struggle with other people because, well, they’re not us. They don’t think like me, act like me, talk like me, nor can I get them to do what I want them to do. And while I say that I’d hate to be surrounded by vast amounts of other “Kelly’s” – and yet it sure would be easier! I’d understand you better because you were me. I’d have more patience with you because I knew what was rolling around in your head that made you do what you did – because, well…we’re the same. And yet I’d also have LESS patience with you because I KNEW WHAT WAS ROLLING AROUND IN YOUR HEAD TO MAKE YOU DO WHAT YOU DID!
But even more than this we would be on common ground because we looked at life through the same Christ-lens. I would know how deep and strong your belief and faith in God is. I would know that you too were annoyed with so much of how people respond in this world to life because I would know that you too were motivated by love and that you felt love was simply the answer to all of life. We are told to love God and love others. Not only because those are the two “tablets” we have in the law of God (Mark 12:28-34) and the very law Christ lived by in all he did but I would know that you’ve realized how much smoother and better life is when those two rules govern all your actions. So yes, it is absolutely hard for me to deal with life and other people because we are not the same nor see all things the same.
Now for God. I struggle because I basically stink at doing life by his terms and conditions and I get really frustrated at his law to love others above me. But even more than this is the fact that I REALLY stink at being patient with him. The reality of all of this is that I simply know what God wants of me and yet I still find excuses to not do them. Living a life by God’s requests and standards is simple…and yet I complicate it. Loving him above all else means knowing him and abiding by him always. And while I know him and do my best to abide by him it is still a struggle because I want him to work in my time (amongst other things). And I want him to respond HOW I want him to. And trust me when I say that I know this is a contradiction. But it is what it is.
Our psalm today takes both of my struggles and smooshes them together. To me this psalm could be an ad in the paper:
- “Do you have problems with other people? Are people being stupid and bad around you? Do you want them to know God and respond to life with him in mind? Do you KNOW God and yet you are struggling with wanting to act as you wait for him to act? If so…then have we got something for you! PATIENCE. If you act now we’ll give you two for the price of one!”
ARRRRGGGG! The one thing I stink at even MORE in life rears its vicious head. If I were to look up “patience” in the dictionary I would see: “Patience – Kelly’s achilles heel in life.”
Our psalmist sees the arrogant evil doers doing life in their way and it frustrates them. How can people do these things, act this way, and hurt others? How can they not know what they do – or not care how they do it or about those they hurt? The psalmist’s heart cries out for vengeance against the oppressors and yet also has tears for the oppressed. But there is also this internal struggle with all that is going on as they realize that God will deal with them in his time and in his own way. Having patience with God is a struggle in and of itself but having patience with God as he deals with others…that requires the psalmist to encourage THEMSELF. And yet throughout all of this the psalmist still appeals to God to act. How much of a struggle this had to have been for the psalmist to not only have patience with people and God – but then find the voice to encourage THEMSELVES to have patience! “I’m so lacking here that I need patience in my patience!”
I appreciate what Matthew Henry writes that this psalm looks out to the oppressors with holy indignation, looks to the oppressed with holy compassion; but, at the same time it looks upwards to the righteous Judge with an entire satisfaction, and looks forward to the end of all these things with a pleasing hope.
For the believer all of life is about others and about God – and both of those are messy. And yet simply because they are messy doesn’t mean we don’t act in and through them. And the reality of all of this is that God has given us the charge to speak in and through the lives of others AND to do all things in HIS way with him at the helm. And as we know this doesn’t always work out the way we want them to. And all of this comes back to patience. Have patience with others…have patience with God.
We need encouragement to have PATIENCE while God works in his way because, well…he’s God and he’s way better than any of us. Patience allows you and me to interact with each other even when we don’t see things the same. And in the end we have to realize that with patience there is hope. Hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for eternity to come. So let us be patient and have patience with each other and God. Oh…and let’s let love lead. Please, for all of humanity let’s have patience and love and let them lead us.
 Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994. Print.