Honestly Confused

Read: Psalm 40    

     In the past couple of months it feels like I have been overwhelmed by things that honestly confuse me.  Some of them in the news, some in the larger church, and some of them that hit closer to home.  What are we to do when life seems like a revolving door of confusion and chaos?  We turn to the Psalms and we turn to God!  In the Psalms we find people who have those same confused feelings and they share them honestly with God.

In the last week or two I was excited to see a video that included one of my favorite Christian authors conversing with one of my favorite singer/musician’s.  Fuller Seminary Studio produced a video of Eugene Peterson (The Message Bible and many other books) and Bono (Lead singer of the Irish band U2) discussing their view of the Psalms.  Bono went to visit Peterson and his wife in their picturesque home on a lake in the mountains of Montana.  Here is a link to that video on YouTube.  It is well worth the 20 minutes it takes to view.

Bono visits Eugene Peterson and discusses the Psalms

It is impressive to see two people from very different worlds come together to talk about God, scripture, honesty, confusion, and how it all relates to the Psalms.  While Peterson and Bono admit that they come at this from very different worlds it is obvious that they find some connections related to their relationship with the Lord.  Here are a couple of the quotes I jotted down from this conversation….

“The only way we can approach God is if we’re honest.”  – Bono
“Psalms has the stuff that we all feel but many of us don’t talk about it.”  – Peterson
“The Psalms in scripture are raw, beautiful, honest, joyful, sorrowful, and confused”  – Bono
“Honesty is very hard in our culture.  We need to find a way to cuss without cussing.”  – Peterson

One of the wonderful things about going to the 150 Psalms in the Bible is that we can always find something to relate to.  A feeling we have, a question we are asking, a lament, a discouragement, a time of joy, a time to dance, play music, and celebrate, a time to be honestly confused.  Peterson says that one of his favorite U2 songs is the song “40” which is written word for word from the first three verses of Psalm 40.  

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”  Psalm 40:1-3   The U2 song then laments “How long to sing this song,” another phrase that is found in several different Psalms.

The one thing I learned from watching this conversation between a rock star and a Christian author is that in the midst of our confusion we need to be honest with the Lord.  We need to share our heart, we need to spill our needs, we need to ask God to help us and lead us. Most of all we need the Lord to set our feet on a firm and solid rock and put a new song of praise in our mouths.  Yes, I learned that God is the one to turn to when things don’t make sense.

I don’t always agree with everything about U2 but I do admire their search for truth in their lyrics, their desire to help with needs around the world, and their relationship with Jesus Christ.  If you are not familiar with U2 and would like to see the end of one of their concerts in Chicago some years ago here is another YouTube link.  They play two very “Christian” songs at the end entitled “Yahweh” and “40.”

U2: Vertigo Tour, Chicago “Yahweh” and “40”

Make it personal:  Read the Psalms this week and find solace in your situation.  The problems we face today are not new and we are not alone in facing them.  God wants to walk alongside you and set your feet on solid ground.  God wants to pour out his love upon you and help you to sing a new song.  A hymn of praise to our Lord!

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church