Be Still Know
Psalm 119:25a TLB
‘I am completely discouraged – I lie in the dust.’
Growing up, I enjoyed cowboy adventures, to the degree that Mum even made up stories around a fictitious character she called ‘Cowboy Joe’. This was to encourage me to eat, for while spellbound by her storytelling, my mouth would open sufficiently for a spoon to be inserted!
Television I loved included The Lone Ranger, Champion the Wonder Horse and The Adventures ofRin Tin Tin. It was here I first heard the phrase ‘bite the dust’ as a metaphor for death. It was soon weaved into the imaginary games I played with friends.
Surprisingly, years later I discovered that this phrase appears in scripture; here the psalmist speaks of how his soul clings to the dust with exactly the same meaning; he is courting death. It is from dust that God formed us and it is to dust that we shall return. Dust is a metaphor for humanity without God’s breath of life, the spirit within. So often I have found that I become glued to something that would kill me spiritually if not physically if I failed to separate myself from it.
On holiday in Devon, with Katey struggling with her walking and requiring major assistance to climb the stairs and get ready for bed, I used to return to the lounge downstairs, switch on the TV and open a bottle of beer. Exhausted physically, and perhaps more importantly, emotionally, I convinced myself that this evening routine was a treat I deserved. Only as I was clearing the cottage at the end of the week’s holiday, and making my way to recycling, did I acknowledge how many beers I’d consumed.
The initial shock, while strong, proved insufficient to prevent me from instituting the same routine on arriving home. In reality, I was beginning to turn to alcohol to ease the pain. It was a habit which I framed as my ‘reward’ for caring that day and to help me relax. While I recognised an emerging problem and attempted to stop or even reduce my drinking, I became creative in justifying it as beneficial. I needed God’s intervention, over and above my own strength of mind alone, to address the issue, something which again was only worked out over time.
QUESTION: Are there issues in your life that leave you stuck to the dust?
PRAYER: Lord, you raise me up from the dust and give me life.