From: Aanchal Narang
What I love most about the Psalms is their unadulterated honesty. They don’t hide the fact that our relationship with God is, more often than not, complicated.
All of us have walked hard roads with God, or are even walking them now. Most of us have felt different parts of our belief crumble and have sat with the pieces, or are still sitting with the pieces, trying to figure out how to put them back together again. How can I love God? How can I be angry with Him? How can I reconcile this, make sense of that?
The Psalms remind me that there have been others—kings, warriors, poets—that have struggled too. That we aren’t alone on the hard road. That generations of believers have walked it already.
Very often I find myself seeking God’s presence in one breath and begging Him to leave me be in the next. I desire closeness with God, but ache when He is too close.
It’s hardly simple, and I have felt guilt for these coexisting passions inside me. Psalm 39, written by a man and a king filled with the same passions, helps me realize that they’re actually two sides of the same coin.
The same thing that draws us to God is the same thing that makes us shiver and recoil from His presence. His Holiness. His holiness is what we desire and what we are scared of. His holiness is what our wounded natures desperately need, the only thing that will fill us. But His holiness is also a sword that severs us from our old selves, burns off all our impurities, pulls and pulls from us until something better comes out and it hurts.
David says, “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”
But he also says, “Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand.”
And David also says, “Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for help;”
But he also says, “Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again.”
I understand. And thank God we have a faith that not only allows for this complicated honesty, but remembers it and records it for posterity. The Psalms have captured David at his best and his worst, and have carried me through my best and my worst. May they serve you wherever they find you.
I am getting her MFA through Boston University’s Creative Writing Program. I live in Brighton, like going on morning walks, dancing, and anything that makes me move around. I use the word beautiful too often. I like trees and dirt and the earth. Honestly, I like most things, so feel free to talk to me about your favorite books, most random interests, what you had for lunch, or anything else that may pop into your head. I promise I’ll be interested.