Before the gods

Before the gods
Psalm 138:1-2.

Before all the other things that draw my heart — people’s opinions, financial security, the health of my children, the fruit of “my” work, I will thank You. They are the gods that I keep returning to; You are the God that holds my soul.

These idols sing sweetly and reasonably. They offer wisdom that compels, they stroke my ego carefully, and they take my hand in gentle concern. They tell me that to be a good mom, to be a good wife, to be a good Christian, I really must bow down.

“Only occasionally,” they coax. “The Lord would be pleased,” they murmur, “to know you are being responsible.” Practical. Wise. Oh how they soothe. How effectively they beckon me away from the Way to sink into submissive worship. How they lull my sleepy heart away from You.

But they are not God as you are God.

They look like prudent savings accounts. They are broken cisterns that I pour myself into and watch my resources drain away.

They look like oceans of reason. They are the tides of anxiety. I dutifully, repetitively carve a place in their shifting sands.

They look like loving concern. On the tails of their murmurs, they are demanding, critical, and endless.

They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, bared teeth behind innocent faces.

I will never be enough for these gods. Just like they can never give me peace.

Oh Lord, I hear their siren call. Oh Lord, You hear my praise.

I will not lie to my soul and say these gods do not tempt me. I will know them, name them, stand before them, and sing to You as I disown them. I will give You my heart, and give You my hope. Though health, money, safety, and success will tempt me, in You I will be confident.

Remind me that I am Yours, and You are mine. Let the light of Your love expose the fear of man before I fall into its snare of doubt and insecurity.

Open my heart to the security found in the cleft of the Rock. Finances are a gift from You, not security I depend on.

Let me see the armies You have sent to protect me, so that the safety of the world is exposed for the fraud it is.

Fill my heart with everything You are. Saturate my soul. Let me live daily in Your temple and feast nightly at Your table. Be greater to me than all the world has to offer. Be a sweeter song than their sweetest tones. Be who You are, my Friend. Then I will have the strength to stand.

In this I will be thrilled. In this I will worship. I have asked and You have answered.

“I believe that I shall look upon 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!” (Psalm 27:13).