“The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up. Can Misrule have anything in common with you? Can Troublemaker pretend to be on your side?” Psalm 94:18-20 MSG
It may be easy to look at this verse and to feel hard done by, to think that because things are falling or have fallen apart, because we’ve called on God and apparently slipped so many times already, we no longer really feel inclined to direct our trust towards him. But… what if our ‘being held’ has less to do with what is succeeding or failing in our external world (the job, the grade, the house, the husband, the wife, the degree, relationships, success)? But rather, it demonstrates something deeper – what it means to be held, or not held in our souls?
‘Misrule’ and ‘Troublemaker’ could perhaps be thought of as the villain characters – the ones that bring lies and anxiety to our soul. These are the characters that whisper and taunt, directing us towards a lack of hope; highlighting our lack of perfection – in this or that, clarifying in detail who we are not. These voices colour the way we roam our world and see the future; discouraged, disheartened, disillusioned. Their goal I would assume, is to rob us of joy, hope and life.
But maybe the God ‘character,’ is the voice that consistently whispers hope to our brokenness, love to our pain, grace to our mess. Maybe the very essence of his character is the very thing that ‘holds’ us when we’re slipping, that brings calm when we’re fighting fear, and cheer when we’re longing for joy. His character too colours our world, but instead it directs us towards courage, hope, and peace. His concern might be that we allow ourselves to be met with what gives and breathes life in the midst of whatever we are experiencing externally.
These two pulls, perhaps, are more spiritual than they are physical; they work on the inner world to name who we are and what we do in the outer world. These characters aren’t friends; good and evil don’t work together – they work for separate purposes. One is for you, while the other, against you. It is who and what we choose to listen to within our soul, that will colour and change how our world appears no matter what success or failure it happens to illustrate today. Our soul, as well as our physical body, is thirsty to be met with what brings life and hope, rather than death and despair. We must make a choice every day, every moment, to choose which voice we will honour.