“At the highest point of the spiritual journey portrayed by the Psalter, we become vessels of praise to God. This deeper sense of praise is precisely what it means to “glorify.” We can praise God in a shallower sense with words alone, but we can only glorify God by enjoying him.”
— Dr. Matthew Jacoby, Deeper Places (2013)
WHAT WE HAVE to appreciate about the psalms – the composite of all 150 psalms by the Psalter, as well as all those myriad prayers scattered within and without the Bible – is the emotional range with which they attest to. As human beings, we were made for such experiences as anguish and praise. We were not only made for the fullest spectrum of emotions – in keeping with the justice of our situations – we have been trusted by God to ‘enjoy’ the fullest experience of them all – if we are bold enough to take them on!
The advantage of wrangling with God within the context of our emotions is God grows us; our capacities to endure, like the well-watered tree alone in the desert, continue to encroach upon our potential.
When we can truly feel – without succumbing to denial, anger, bargaining, or depression – we are beautifully positioned to enjoy God without limit. When we enjoy God, we glorify his holy name.
Perhaps there is never a truer word enveloped or said, when it is proclaimed that, we haven’t lived unless we have experienced the fullness of the emotions; unless we have suffered some sense of loss, or had to wait years for the fulfilment of a dream, or to suffer an unrequited indignity of some other sort.
This is why the psalms capture the essence of seeking the Presence of God. Only when we have sought God out of an unadulterated desperation can we truly understand just what God has to offer... there is nothing that life without God can do to compete. Without God we are a comprehensive nothing.
We can only glorify God by enjoying him. Think on it for a minute: God is love, has loved us from the beginning, and loves us first. God initiates; we respond.
God enjoys us. It fits, therefore, that God would seek to make us that we would want to enjoy him back.
Think about what these concepts mean, as we combine with them the fact of suffering, of struggles, of trials, hardships and tumults. Deepening our experience of need, God takes us to such a deep level of intimacy with him that praise is the instinctive response – even from within the heart of one recently scourged.
God desires that he be worshipped, experienced, honoured, enjoyed! When at last we seek the Lord with all our hearts – nothing held back – then we have found life.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.