Dawn Eden blogged a few days ago about being thankful for crosses.  A timely for topic for me — pushed me to see certain parts of my life in a new light. 

Curiously, this Easter I had some psalm trouble.  Lent ended, so it was time to call a halt on psalm 22, but it didn’t seem right to go back to my ordinary time verses.  Trouble was, I don’t know the psalms, or the bible in general, well enough to have some Eastery-psalm or verse on the top of my head to pull out in my time of need.  So I did what came naturally, and procrastinated.  (Ahem, this is not the recommended way to conduct one’s spiritual life during Easter week). 

Finally the Holy Spirit, or something, prompted me to just flip open the bible to psalm 22 (bookmark still wedged there) and see if there wasn’t something nearby that would do the trick.   Sure enough, take a look at psalm 21*

"He [the king] asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
       length of days, for ever and ever."  (NIV)

I don’t know whether this passage is usually interpreted as applying to Jesus, but it certainly could be.   I am reminded of Jesus praying in the garden, "if you are willing, take this cup from me" — a natural lead in to that final recitation on the cross of the opening lines of psalm 22 — "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

It looks on the outside like Jesus *was* forsaken.  As if his prayer was not answered.  (And certainly, if by "this cup" He meant suffering on the cross, so it was not.)  But in psalm 21 we get another perspective — He asked for life, got not just the chance to grow old, not just another forty or sixty years, but life without end.  Life for all time. 

Dawn Eden’s post about being thankful for one’s cross was a good shoulder-shaking for me.  But, like her, I don’t find this easy.  It doesn’t make any sense.  The thing I struggle with most, it seems it *ought* to be God’s will that it be removed.  Surely the evil in everyone’s life is the same way — we know God wants what is good.  It should be so incredibly obvious that He ought to be hearing our prayers, and giving us the ‘yes’ we’re asking for.

And I think there, in these cases where we are so, so, certain that what we want — what we suffer for lack of — *ought* to be God’s will, the psalmist fills in the mystery.  The king in the psalm asked for life, and got not the few little measly decades he’d hoped and prayed for, but all eternity.   We who are getting a "no" on our little prayers that seem so big to us, I suppose are meant to be trusting in the same sort of surprise.  That if our desire really does correspond to God’s will, then it must be that the "no" to the "little" thing offers hope of a "yes" to something beyond our understanding?

*I tried briefly to find a link to a public-domain catholic translation.  I discovered the Douay-Rheims numbers the psalms differently than contemporary translations.  Anyone know what the story is with that?