Sunday: Psalm 122, 123, 124 & Colossians 3:1-17

From Anna Harris

When tragedy hits, the go-to advice among Christians is to read the Psalms. After developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a year and a half ago, that was what my Christian friends suggested: "Anna, read the Psalms. In them, you will find solace and model prayers for those who are suffering." 

So I did. And I found some comfort and I found some confusion. A common theme in the Psalms is God's deliverance of those in trouble. This theme is found in one of our readings today, Psalm 124. "Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped (vs. 6&7)." These kinds of verses caused additional pain to my already raw spirit because it didn't fit my experience of this life. When I was being hurt - even as a little child - God did not show up to rescue me. Instead, I seemed stuck in verses 4 and 5: "Then the waters had overwhelmed [me], the stream had gone over [my] soul: Then the proud waters had gone over [my] soul." 

This confusion led me to ask God a classic, but no less painful, question: "Where were you when I was being hurt, and why, why, why didn't you show up and save me?" While another Christian would share with me how God had prevented her trauma from being worse, I was left to grapple with the idea that my Creator had seemed to leave me vulnerable and unprotected in my greatest moments of need.  

I wish I could now tidy up this entry and give a nice, encouraging answer to my question. But if I did, I wouldn't feel completely honest. For me, part of the challenge is to learn to sit with the sadness, anger, and confusion and learn to tolerate them. To wait for answers. However, I would like to throw out one thought that consoles me a bit. 

If I look at the entirety of my life, not only the specific moments of terror as a child, I notice something. I am now safe. I live with good people. I have a job that brings me joy. I have discovered people and resources that have helped me survive my hurt. And I have hope that my relationship with God will continue to heal. So then I think that maybe God has broken the snare and maybe I have escaped. Maybe I am like the bird mentioned in Psalm 124. Perhaps I serve a God that I do not understand, but who does indeed love me and is working to set me free. Maybe I will yet believe that "[my] help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth (vs. 8)." 

Lord, have mercy.

 

I am originally a Texan who has grown to love my new home in Boston. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, but am enjoying nannying for two little boys at the moment. I am obsessed with a certain baby rabbit that I hope to bring home in the next couple of days.