Monday, July 14, 2008

Words that Last

I wish I could write psalms. The book of Psalms is one of my favorite parts of the Bible, and often when I sit down for my quiet time with God, I wish I could put my feelings into such beautiful lines. So far it hasn't happened, though. Probably because I'm so terrible with any kind of poetry.

One thing I love about the Chronological Bible I'm reading this year is that, as I'm reading about the life of David, if there's a psalm he seems to have written at that time of his life, the editors include it at the appropriate point in the narrative. I've always loved the story of David, but reading his prayers, his emotions as he cries out to God in the middle of the events of his life makes me feel so close to him. Sometimes I wish I could tell him--and the other psalmists--how often I have turned to their words to express my own feelings. To calm my fears. To remind myself why I should trust the Lord.

Last night, one of David's psalms had these lines: "O Lord, what are mortals that you should notice us, mere humans that you should care for us? For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow." (Psalm 144:3-4, NLT)

It's true that David is long gone--gone like the vapor or shadows he named. And yet, there I sat, reading his words, breathing them in, feeling the truth of them fresh and new for myself. I was reminded that, though we mortals don't last very long, our words do. Words for good and words for evil.

It's both an inspiration and a caution for those of us who write. How I hope to be able to pen words that will last, but only if they're true and good. Only if someday, they can bring someone else a ray of encouragement and faith on a dark day.