Heartache, anger, pain, and confusion often flow through the Christian’s heart. My friends, life is not easy. We can fall into a pit of despair, or we can embrace the complexity of life as a part of the natural order of this human adventure, and then model this for the young ones around us.
Around age 20, when I was a younger one, an old man told me something very specific. He said to me, “Rod, read the Psalms often because that book is where a grown man learns to cry in pain, celebrate with joy, argue with God, embrace all doubts, and live a full life.” So, I did. And I was often confused by what I read in the Book of Psalms, all through my twenties – and even after I finished a Masters of Divinity program in a seminary. But, seeds were planted by the words I read. Through my thirties and forties, and now at the edge of turning fifty, I get it. I’ve had my fair share of joy and pain, and I am so thankful that the old man told me to read and meditate on the Book of Psalms.
The importance of reading Psalms was heavy on my heart this week because Eugene Peterson passed away at the age of 85. Many of you know him as the one who translated the Bible in contemporary language (known as “The Message”). My heart aches for his passing this week, and yet, I am so thankful because his writings and videos deeply impacted me over the years. My favorite Eugene video is a 20-minute broadcast of old Eugene with Bono, from the band U2. Their topic – the value of the Book of Psalms, written by King David. I highly recommend you take 20 minutes from your busy day and watch the entire video, and then, set a plan to read the Book of Psalms – often. One day in the near or distant future, you will be glad you did!