A Prayer for the Smudged Masterpiece
Updated: Jan 9, 2021
Recently, I have been trying my hand at painting. My family does not consist of creatives, my sister being the only one that can draw more than a stick figure. But I took out a few paints that hadn't been touched in years and a brand new, straight out of the packaging canvas, excited to see how this would turn out. A little orange here, pink over there, and touches of white everywhere. The painting wasn't bad, actually it was the best piece of artwork I had made in my life time. In the process of adding the final touches, just a few dots of paint, my dog who had been keeping me company darts off into the living room, right over where I was painting in the floor.
I had expected to have to start over with a fresh canvas, this one being ruined in the final stages. Thankfully, that assumption was wrong and the picture was still in tacked with only a few complementary dots being smudged. I had expected the worst case scenario, like David in today's passage. David found himself in a potentially devastating position, the painting of his life seeming to smudge beyond repair. Before he went any further with his situation, though, he stopped and prayed. The prayer is an honest, desperate prayer that anyone could catch themselves saying. But this passage can also lead us to things we could actively do to help fix the smudges with the help of God:
1. "Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy." (v 1)
We can lift our voices so that God can hear our needs
2. "Preserve my life, for I am godly..." (v. 2a)
We can lift our lives to God and the purpose that has been chosen for our lives
3. "...Save your servant, who trusts in you-you are my God." (v. 2b)
We can lift our trust to the Lord with faith in God's promises
4. "Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul." (v. 4)
We can lift our souls to God, to connect with the Holy Spirit
5. "For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you." (v. 5)
We can lift up our love because God loved us first
The section of prayer is ended with "In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me." (v. 7), book ending the point that David is trying to make. We need to lift up our whole being: your voice, your life, your trust, your soul, your love, everything that makes you you, to God. God will answer your call, you just need to lift your question to God first. This answer may not be what you want it to be but it will be God's holy answer to your troubles, as David puts it.
My painting, that I had put hours into, was still intact and only needed minor fixing. What I thought would ruin the painting at large only made for a unique dot in the corner. What may seem like a life crumbling mess may be a life building blessing in disguise. Lift yourself to God and the masterpiece that is you will be made even more unique by the life God leads you on.
"What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise" Blessings by Laura Story
"Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!" Psalms 81:1