Tuesday, December 29, 2009

book review: singing the songs of the brokenhearted

I just finished a book entitled “Singing the Songs of the Brokenhearted” by Bill Crowder. It’s an examination of ten different psalms and taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding each. A recurring them in this book is the fact that even when we feel God isn’t listening to our prayers – that He’s too busy with other things to pay attention to us – He IS listening and He DOES care. “God does not always answer our prayers in ways that we understand, but He always hears our cries. He does not turn His back on us or ignore us. He is not too busy to listen. He is never disinterested.”
Eight of these ten psalms were written by David, each expressing his pain and fear at different moments in his life. “Whereas in brighter days we too often find ourselves warmed by the sun of our own abilities, in times of somber reflection following defeat we are often driven to God. David’s defeats caused him to do precisely that.” As David goes through trial after trial in his life, he is given the opportunity to simply give up and stop trusting God. After all, why would God continue to allow these things to happen to him? Yet David’s faith remains strong. “He will give thanks – even without having yet received relief. He will live a life of witness – even in the midst of mistreatment. And he will seek to honor God as he awaits the response of his Rescuer.” The thing I often struggle with is the difference between my timing and God’s. He seems to take longer in answering me than I’d like and it often causes frustration on my part. Yet trusting that He knows best is part of having faith. “David is so completely yielded to God’s purposes that he is not only willing to seek His help, he is willing to leave the timing of that help to God.”
Another recurring theme is trust. We have to trust God even when our lives seem to be slowly spiraling out of control. We have to trust that God has a plan despite how things may currently look and not let go of that faith. It’s during those times that we seem to cling to God tighter because, sometimes, He’s the only thing we have. We have to always look forward, not allowing ourselves to trip because we’re too busy focusing on what’s behind us. We have to press on, even when we feel exhausted and don’t want to take another step. “We cannot by strength of will extend our lives, but we can – and must – extend the influence of our lives. We can regret the limitations that we endure and live accordingly, or we can live our lives to make a difference. This is a challenge that is not governed by the length of our days, but by the depth of our commitment. Only when we are more concerned with living than we are with dying will we be able to truly live meaningful, victorious, and purposeful lives.”

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