Thursday, January 12, 2006

Do you hear what I hear? Part Two

On the good days, on the days when the sound of silence is golden, when peace reigns in my heart rather than discontentment, when hope springs eternal, on those days I hear another Voice. I read and meditate on other quotes. These are some of the words that bring me comfort and strength, not only on the bad days like the one I wrote about yesterday, but also on the good days, like the one I'm having today.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.

The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.

Those who know your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me.

You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

How priceless is your unfailing love. Both high and low among people find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Why are you downcast, o my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

My soul finds rest in God alone.

I am not alone in seeking rest for my weary soul, for my tormented mind. I am not alone in my wailing and in the wearing of emotional and spiritual sackcloth. I am not alone in having a downcast spirit or disturbed soul. Nor am I alone in finding rest in God, in His Word, and in His unfailing love and presence in my life. The Psalmist David and his fellow singers and writers wrote these words and many others that have been of great sustenance and support for me.

As a fan of Oprah Winfrey, I have followed the recent controversy about the last book she assigned to her world-wide book club. I haven't yet read the book, but I will pick it up soon I'm sure. Apparently the author of the book, James Frey, has been accused of wildly exaggerating the stories he tells in the memoir entitled A Million Little Pieces. Critics, broadcasters, and insignificant people like me have discussed it, written about it, and wondered what our expectations ought to be of memoirs. How much embellishment is too much?

I am the first to say that I am not surprised or dismayed by the possibility that Frey stretched the truth in order to sell his book. I am also the first to say that I embellish details in my own writing. Just a few minutes ago, I confessed to a friend that I carefully craft these blogs to keep readers interested, curious, and most important of all, coming back to read more of my rantings. I endeavor to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But the truth I tell is only mostly true. It's my version of the events of my life. My husband, children, friends, and other innocent bystanders would most certainly tell the story of my life quite differently than I do.

But there is one Book in my life that I have no doubts about, even though I know that there are millions of people who think this Book is even more wildly exaggerated and overrated than Frey's. There is one Book in my life that I turn to more than any other when I need guidance, comfort, and wisdom. I know that I am not alone when I say that I don't understand it all. I don't even agree with all of it. Yet no matter how disputed, maligned, or reviled this Book may be, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel, no matter how difficult it is to defend at times, I have never doubted the truthfulness, the relevance, or the indispensability of The Bible in my life.

Do you read what I read?

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