Treasure Valley Prays

Guilt

woman with head resting on arms

Psalm 27, Triumphant Song of Confidence of David

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of the Lord; to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off; do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

I am currently reading the book Sealed by Katie Langston, which is Trinity’s current Bible study. It is an autobiography of her life growing up in an LDS family. One of her main struggles was wrestling with a deep feeling of unworthiness and fear that she would be found “not good enough” when she died to receive God’s blessing. I empathized with her so much as I was reading it, because I struggled with the same kind of guilt for years. I think everyone must have to address their own personal challenges that resurface throughout their lives, goading and worrying them.

Even the poet King David struggled with this. Look at Psalm 27. He starts off strong: whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid? I will be confident! Yet, five verses later he is pleading with God not to turn away from him in anger, cast him off, or forsake him. If it tormented God’s Psalmist, I guess it’s OK if it troubles me as well.

My own answer came to me when I became a Lutheran. Many protestant churches teach that to be accepted by God, the penitent person must take some action to gain God’s approval. But this leaves you in a sort of guessing game—have I done enough? My Lutheran pastor at the time drew a diagram of a cross that didn’t quite touch the ground, saying this was like those belief systems. In the Lutheran belief system, Jesus’ cross comes all the way to the ground. Nothing is required of us. God’s grace is pouring over us like a constant waterfall of love and forgiveness. We cannot escape it! I was filled with a deep sense of relief and joy that has never left me. This must be what Martin Luther felt when he was reading Romans 8. It stands as a marker in my life. Whenever those old needles of guilt trouble me, I look back to that moment and find peace again. Thanks be to God!

Let us pray...

My favorite prayers are the ones you can sing. This one is taken from Psalm 27. We sang this old Gospel song frequently when I was a child. I haven’t heard joyful, fervent singing like that for many years.

He Brought Me Out

  1. My heart was distressed ’neath Jehovah’s dread frown,
    And low in the pit where my sins dragged me down;
    I cried to the Lord from the deep miry clay,
    Who tenderly brought me out to golden day.

Refrain:

    He brought me out of the  miry clay,
    He set my feet on the Rock to stay;
    He puts a song in my soul today,
    A song of praise, hallelujah!

  1. He placed me upon the strong Rock by His side,
    My steps were established and here I’ll abide;
    No danger of falling while here I remain,
    But stand by His grace until the crown I gain.
  1. He gave me a song, ’twas a new song of praise;
    By day and by night its sweet notes I will raise;
    My heart’s overflowing, I’m happy and free;
    I’ll praise my Redeemer, who has rescued me.

Here is a YouTube version I like: https://youtu.be/4UjYZVd3t-M

Picture of Di Seba

Di Seba

Member of Trinity Lutheran, Nampa ID

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