But God purifies
Psalm 51:1-7, 17 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. … But you desire honesty from the heart, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Dave and I drove into Pittsburgh from a lovely two-week vacation just as snow began to fall. We scrambled to unload the car, then Dave checked the plastic on all the windows while I ran to the library with an overdue book and stopped at Aldi for essential groceries. The lines were long with others doing the same thing. We were happy then to hunker down and watch the snow fall. And start catching up after two weeks neglecting various aspects of life in Pittsburgh.
This morning the world seemed hushed, muted by the pristine layers of winter loveliness. As Dave and I shoveled our walks and driveway, I welcomed the stillness as an invitation to be quiet before the Lord. Psalm 51 came to my mind. For several months my spirit has been broken as I became aware I deeply hurt someone I deeply love. Saturday I was broken again as I realized I hurt my friend once more, by responding too quickly, by not listening carefully before I spoke.
Honestly, Lord, I prayed as I shoveled, I feel despair at my sin. I know I can’t fix myself. Only you can cleanse and change me. I don’t know how to walk forward. I don’t know how to mend or how to heal my heart or my friend’s. One more time I offer my brokenness to you and ask for your help. Thank you for assuring me in Psalm 51 you will not reject my broken heart. Because of you unfailing love and great compassion, have mercy on me. Have mercy on us.
Psalm 51 ends on a note of hope, the hope of singing joyfully of God’s forgiveness. I look forward to the restoration GOD can accomplish–even though I can’t.