Fun House Christianity
Daily Devotional Reading from Psalm 38:11-22
11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore;
And my kinsmen stand afar off.
12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me:
And they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things,
And imagine deceits all the day long.
13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not;
And I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not,
And in whose mouth are no reproofs.
15 For in thee, O Lord, do I hope:
Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me:
When my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.
17 For I am ready to halt,
And my sorrow is continually before me.
18 For I will declare mine iniquity;
I will be sorry for my sin.
19 But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong:
And they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries;
Because I follow the thing that good is.
21 Forsake me not, O Lord:
O my God, be not far from me.
22 Make haste to help me,
O Lord my salvation.
Once upon a time, the Bald Believer had a little hair and little children. On one of those days, before this believer was bald, one of my babies was in the children’s wing of Mission hospital for an overnight stay. The hallways of that particular section of the hospital had fun mirrors lining the walls. Those fun mirrors each distorted your appearance in a different way. Having plenty of time to kill, I wandered the halls and had some fun. There were all kinds of Jasons that day. There was a skinny Jason (that was me without the mirror’s help at the time. I was almost 6 foot 4 inches tall when I had a little hair and weighed about 165 pounds) I saw a conehead Jason, a big mouthed Jason and a big fat head Jason too. I didn’t let my wife proofread this because I knew she would ask what the mirrors had changed since those sound like regular old Jason to her. I went to each frame and made faces and sounds and entertained myself. One mirror frame revealed a rather rotund version of myself, so I said, “Hey, hey, hey, It’s Fat Jason!” (A reference to a favorite childhood cartoon in case you were wondering) It was at that point that I noticed that a nurse had been watching me the entire time. She had seen every expression and heard every word. I sheepishly walked away as blushing Jason; no special mirror was needed. So, I know you wonder what this has to do with today’s Psalm.
David had confessed that he was guilty of wrongdoing and the hand of the Lord was weighing on him. It seems as though he was suffering sickness as a result of his sins. In today’s reading he tells us that his family and friends ran away from him and his enemies used this opportunity to kick a man while he was down. I understand the cowardly attack of an enemy. Enemies attack, that is what they do. I don’t understand the family and friends. One would think that they would be dependable. I would assume that they would care. It is not too much to expect lovers to love and yet David said, “My lovers and friends stand aloof…” That day as I was in the hospital I was thinking of Scripture as I made those facial expressions and sounds. My thoughts were on one verse in particular,
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Every one of those Jasons in those funhouse mirrors shared my expression. When I smiled, they smiled. When I frowned, they frowned. That is what God tells us to do for each other too. God has called us to a form of fun house mirror Christianity in which we share the happiness and hurts of others. The Bible tells us to run to the sick and hurting, not away. The Word commands us to care. Jesus told us to treat those sick and needy as if they were himself and yet we like David’s fair-weather friends and family run away. I imagine that one might say, “but he is getting what he deserves! David himself admits that he caused his own condition.” I submit that does not relieve us from our obligations. Paul taught us in Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Speaking from experience, there is nothing like a friend showing me Jesus in the midst of pain. I love the funhouse because I have been there. Thank you friend! I hope to return the favor one day.