Friday, May 27, 2005

In my most bitter moments

In my most bitter moments, I end up reading Nietzsche. This is because of all the philosophers, Nietzsche has the most direct attack on God. Deep down I know that it is always with God I must deal. He brings frustration to my life and he takes it away. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? I’m sure it doesn’t come through in the text, but those are very hard words to write right now. Every fiber of my flesh wants to agree with Nietzsche and say God is dead and he doesn’t hear anymore. I want to raise my fist and curse God and say “Why have you brought this upon me?!?!” Then I read Lamentations 3 and I can’t help but be touched. “Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

Compare the two views below:

Friedrich Nietzsche:
"And what is the saint doing in the forest?" asked Zarathustra.
The saint answered: "I make songs and sing them; and when I make songs, I laugh, cry, and hum: thus I praise God. With singing, crying, laughing, and humming, I praise the god who is my god. But what do you bring us as a gift?"
When Zarathustra had heard these words he bade the saint farewell and said: "What could I have to give you? But let me go quickly lest I take something from you!" And thus they separated, the old one and the man, laughing as two boys laugh.
But when Zarathustra was alone he spoke thus to his heart: "Could it be possible? This old saint in the forest has not yet heard anything of this, that God is dead!"

1I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
2He has led me and made me walk
In darkness and not in light.
3Surely He has turned His hand against me
Time and time again throughout the day.
4He has aged my flesh and my skin,
And broken my bones.
5He has besieged me
And surrounded me with bitterness and woe.
6He has set me in dark places
Like the dead of long ago.
7He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out;
He has made my chain heavy.
8Even when I cry and shout,
He shuts out my prayer.
9He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
He has made my paths crooked.
10He has been to me a bear lying in wait,
Like a lion in ambush.
11He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces;
He has made me desolate.
12He has bent His bow
And set me up as a target for the arrow.
13He has caused the arrows of His quiver
To pierce my loins.
14I have become the ridicule of all my people--
Their taunting song all the day.
15He has filled me with bitterness,
He has made me drink wormwood.
16He has also broken my teeth with gravel,
And covered me with ashes.
17You have moved my soul far from peace;
I have forgotten prosperity.
18And I said, "My strength and my hope
Have perished from the LORD."
19Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the gall.
20My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
21This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I hope in Him!"
25The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.
27It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth.
28Let him sit alone and keep silent,
Because God has laid it on him;
29Let him put his mouth in the dust--
There may yet be hope.
30Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him,
And be full of reproach.
31For the Lord will not cast off forever.
32Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
33For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.
34To crush under one's feet
All the prisoners of the earth,
35To turn aside the justice due a man
Before the face of the Most High,
36Or subvert a man in his cause--
The Lord does not approve.(NKJV)


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