I conducted a wedding recently where the couple did a strange thing. They prayed with their backs to one another!
So, there they stood back-to-back not because they had a quarrel or they were getting cold feet!
It was, rather, their personal and precious pact for the groom to not behold his lovely bride until he unveiled her at the solemnisation ceremony in church.
It’s a strange way to experience an intimate love relationship.
David in Psalm 38 is pleading for God to save him from those who seek his life, his hurt, his ruin. (verse 12).
He expresses a strange way forward to his predicament and pain. He is like a deaf man who does not hear. He is like a mute who does not speak (v13).
We could call this “a good deafness and muteness” when we choose not to hear and to respond to the endless accusations of those who stand against us for no good reason except that we stand for God.
In the end, the psalmist chooses a better way. He chooses to be deaf to the crippling words of man. He chooses to be mute with a self-reliant response.
He chooses to be more attuned to the Word of God. He calls God not to forsake him. He cries out to God to come in haste to save him (v21-22).
Often time in our walk with God, we will experience this strange intimacy where we feel estranged from God. When he seems to have turned his back to us. And we, likewise, do not seem to behold his face.
Yet, it is part of God’s unfailing love in a fallen world. May we choose a good deafness to the badmouthing of people.
Are you increasingly worn down by the cynicism of this world, accusations of closet opponents, nagging of close ones or simply the toxic words that deafen you?
Choose good deafness. It will preserve your intimacy with God. Strangely. Amen.