Deep itch

Maddie's hands

In this moving process, I keep returning to Psalm 27. This morning the part that jumped out at me was the purity of David’s prayers: “I will seek Your face,” “One thing I ask of the Lord,” etc. I thought, “Man, David was so single minded on You. He wasn’t like me, thoughts flitting all over the place, many of them of no consequence at all and most of them focused on myself and my struggles.”
Then the Lord whispered, “You think he wasn’t like you? You think he was some super saint?” And I pictured David up on that rooftop, indecisive about joining his army at war, itchy and unsettled because that’s where he SHOULD be. He may have thought, “What is wrong with me?” (which I often ask myself.) In that state he saw Bathsheeba, and her beauty seemed like the answer to the restlessness in his soul.
David wasn’t so different from me after all. Many of the Psalms follow a pattern of lament followed by remembrance of God’s goodness and faithfulness. I would imagine there were even more that were not recorded. My own journal writings often follow this pattern. It was NOT that David did not itch and squirm with his own sinful, selfish humanity, but over and over he brought his mixed-up mess to God—and found relief there. More than that, he became captivated by God. Perhaps some of his praise psalms were written directly after psalms of lament, when the miracle of God’s goodness broke into a time of discouragement or despair.
Even when David sought to relieve his itch elsewhere—with Bathsheeba or numbering the people—he recognized his error and turned back to the only true balm for the itch. It is this turning back, this turning away from self-centeredness or pride or whatever, that makes David a man after God’s own heart. David DID struggle, like I do, and he recognized and accepted his own lack and took it to the source of filling.
Did he get frustrated with his always-present need and lack, like I do? “I keep coming back with the same issues,” I cry to God so, so often. “I have to keep getting filled. Why can’t it be a ‘one-and-done’?” Is that why David went after Bathsheeba? Did he think it might soothe his restless beast forever?
I have to come to Your well of living water again and again, Lord. Not because You run dry but because my vessel is so small. Please protect me from seeking to fill my cup with other things. Help me to come, day after day, hour upon hour, my tiny, cracked cup empty, and fill it up with You. Help me to be all right with my lack and need. Help me to be fully satisfied with You. I think these two—acknowledgment of need and recognition of Your satisfaction—go hand-in-hand. I will seek other things to scratch my itch if I don’t see how deep it really is, that it is merely a symptom of a wound that goes all the way down to my heart. Or, to stop mixing my metaphors, I will try to fill my need with other sources if I do not recognize how damaged and flawed my vessel is, that it will always be that way this side of glory.

5 thoughts on “Deep itch

  1. Hey you!! I didn’t know you had a website! When I have more time (and not while I’m at work…haha) I want to read your posts. 🙂 You are such an amazing writer! We are ecstatic that you are moving back to Chicago (closer to us)! I know this is bitter/sweet for you but WE certainly are happy. 🙂 It will be exciting to see how the Lord uses you guys back on your old “stomping grounds.” The Lord always uses you guys for great things. Another chapter begins in the lives of the Underwoods. When do you visit WL?
    Happy BIrthday !! Hope you have a great day!

    Love ya,

    • Cindy! So good to hear from you! It has been a very real adjustment to suburbia again, but it feels right being back at the Academy and closer to EJ and Peggy. We MAY be heading to WL over Labor Day. If so, we definitely want to get together. Thanks for the birthday wishes and hope to see you soon.

  2. Happy Birthday! Saw on Facebook that you say you blog here more often than you Facebook, so I thought I’d write you here! I hope the coolest 7th grade English teacher and 8th grade speech teacher ever is doing well!!! 🙂

    • Clint! So good to hear from you! What are you doing these days? it’s good to be back in the classroom (or at least preparing to be in the classroom next week). I loved those days of teaching at LMS–remember the day you lost the tooth! Let me know how you’re doing!

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