I was in a funk most of the day today. It wasn't pretty. This morning as I was hanging laundry on the line, right after having changed one of the top three most disgusting diapers of my life (it was an epic blowout), the cynical, despairing, ugly tape in my head was looping at full volume. Suddenly a phrase broke through that static: despising the pleasant land. Yep, that's exactly what I was doing. I haven't read Psalm 106 in months, but the title of an old blog post popped into my mind.
Maybe the rest of the day would have gotten better if I'd stopped to read it earlier, but I finally sat down to revisit it just now. Reposting in case you need to hear it, too...
Psalm 106 features a brief and sorry history of the Israelites and how they were losers even in spite of all God did for them. Verse 24 offers a particularly heartbreaking indictment in the middle of an already depressing psalm: "Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise." Over and over He was so good, so faithful to them...over and over they disobeyed, rebelled, forgot and strayed.
If I'm honest, I have to admit that this is my own history, too. As I look back over the last five years of motherhood--or over my entire life, in various circumstances where I have been discontent--I know that I have so often despised the pleasant land.
God's Word not only says that children are a blessing, a heritage from Him...but it also says that He has set the boundary lines for me in pleasant places. Rather than adopting His perspective, choosing to see and give thanks, I have often been an Israelite, grumbling and complaining, running after idols, cowering in unbelieving fear. I have lacked faith in His promises to provide the grace I need, His promises that He has ordained my circumstances and is committed to my good.
May God have mercy on me and increase my faith--may He give me grace to remember, to see, to believe His promises--to love the pleasant land of motherhood that He has placed me in, knowing that although it is sometimes a land of trials, and I may sometimes think other lands look more appealing...it is a land He has brought me to in love and blessing, a land He says is pleasant--a land where He is PRESENT, and thus it is holy ground. Because of the cross, I can trust His love and know that "The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance" (Psalm 16:5-6).
If you keep reading in Psalm 106, you find hope and mercy and grace there, too. God is good and His steadfast love endures forever...His mighty deeds are beyond naming or counting...even when His people rebel, He saves us and chooses to use us to make His mighty power known...He has saved us and will save us from the hand of the foe...He has redeemed us from the power of the enemy! He looks upon our distress--even when it is self-inflicted--He hears our cries and remembers His promises and treats us according to His steadfast love, not according to what our sins deserve.
Reminding my unbelieving self again tonight that I belong to a mighty and merciful God--one who didn't abandon the Israelites and who promises never to abandon me, despite all the times that I lack faith in His promises and despise the pleasant land.
[edited repost from the archives]