Just this week I've been listening to a simple song from one of my favorite musicians, Jason Harrod. Here are the lyrics:
Day and night, in my silence, My body was wasting away. My soul dried up in the desert sun. Your hand was heavy on me.
Your hand was heavy. Your hand was heavy. Your hand was heavy on me.
Then I shouted in the night I'm dirty, I want to be clean. Your love broke through like daylight. When You showered Your mercy on me.
Shower Your mercy. Shower Your mercy. Shower Your mercy on me.
You're my refuge and my strength In the hour when gray storms come. Let the wind and rain come down. I'm safe in my Father's arms.
The sky shouts out Your glory In blue and marigold. And I will praise You all my days, Lover of my soul.
I will praise You, I will praise You, Lover of my soul.
Here's the video:
It is a simple song, very Psalm-like, expressing repentance, trust in God, and praise to God in spite of the hardships of life and the reality of our own sin. I've been listening to this song this week thinking, yes, this is a good reflection of what the Christian life ought to be.
Then, this morning I read this blog post about what Steve Johnson tweeted (to God, presumably) when he dropped a game-winning touchdown pass last week. He said:
I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…
So here we have two men, a musician and a football player, both facing "the hour when gray storms come," and both responding to God in diametrically opposite ways. One repents and praises God ("I will praise you all of my days"), one boasts and curses God ("THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!!").
Now, never mind the triviality of a dropped football pass. If there was ever a reason to curse God (and indeed there are none), this was not it.
The real issue for us is this, how will we respond in the midst of adversity, hardship, and affliction in this life... like the musician or the football player?
In Revelation 9, as God's judgments descend upon the earth in the form of various horrific plagues, and many people die, we are told, "The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands..." (v. 20). The lesson of Revelation 9 is quite significant. We must see every affliction in this life, from the dropping of a football, to even the loss of life, as an opportunity to repent, rest in Christ, and ultimately rejoice in God's sovereign grace.
The good news of the gospel is not that we get what we deserve. The football player, wanting what he deserves ("I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!!!"), is tragically blind to the reality of his sin and the judgments of God necessitated by it. He understands self-righteousness. He understands tit-for-tat. But he does not understand the gospel.
Instead, the good news of the gospel is that we don't get what we deserve! It is, "You were dead in trespasses and sins... but God made us alive together with Christ" (Eph. 2:1-5).
So today may our prayers be gospel prayers, "Shower your mercy on me!"