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Landscape of Hope | Heather Holdsworth

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2024 1:00 am

Landscape of Hope | Heather Holdsworth

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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February 17, 2024 1:00 am

After a series of losses in Heather’s life, she turned to the Psalms and began writing and drawing what she experienced. On this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, journey through what Heather terms, “the landscape of hope”. Sometimes familiar passages can become too familiar because we've encountered them so often. Don't miss the soul-strengthening encouragement on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. 

Featured resources: LANDSCAPE OF HOPE: AN ILLUSTRATED JOURNEY INTO THE PSALMS

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The theology isn't just left flat on the page for us to highlight and to circle and to study, but it's put into the bodies of people. We kind of carry the truth of God as communities, as we sing out His truth.

It's quite beautiful. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, the power of art and words. Heather Holdsworth will join us from Scotland to talk about times in her life when the Psalms became her anchor in a stormy world. Our featured resource today is a book by Heather titled, Landscape of Hope, an illustrated journey into the Psalms. You can find out more at our website, buildingrelationships.us.

Again, go to buildingrelationships.us to discover more about this excellent resource. Gary, you have gone through some valleys and some high points in your life. I want to know what the Psalms have meant to you through the years. You know, Chris, the Psalms have been very, very meaningful to me. You know, it seems like when you're going through hard times and you're reading in the Psalms, you're going to find some things there you can identify with.

Of course, my favorite Psalm always been the 23rd. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me by still waters. You know, he restores my soul and so forth and so on. You know, that's just a powerful, powerful Psalm.

But all of them, you know, some of course are down. I mean, you know, emotionally for the Psalmist is down. When you're down, you can identify with that, you know. But always in the midst of the pain and all in the Psalms, it points us back to God. Rather than running away from God, run to God, you know, when we're down. So I'm looking forward to our discussion on this topic this morning, the Psalms, and this particular book. It's very exciting. Yeah, that's the thing that really encourages me is that you don't have to pretend about what's going on in your life.

You don't have to clean yourself up in order to come to God. The Psalmists are just so honest. So I want you to hear from our guest today. She loves the Bible. She loves art.

She loves Earl Grey Tea with her friends. She is Heather Holdsworth. After graduating with a degree in education, she taught in various schools, specializing in emotionally and behaviorally disordered young people. Among her educational travels, she came to Chicago and graduated with an MA in spiritual formation from Moody Theological Seminary.

She lives in St. Andrews, Scotland with her husband, Adrian. Her book of meditation on Scripture is called Landscape of Hope. Write this down, folks. You're going to want to get this. Landscape of Hope, an illustrated journey into the Psalms.

You can find out more about it at buildingrelationships.us. Well, Heather, welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you so much. It's lovely to be with you.

Before we go to the Psalms, and I'm excited about getting into the Psalms, but take us on your own journey into your world. Who is Heather Holdsworth? Heather Well, that's quite a question. I was brought up in Africa. My dad was South African, and my mom was from the island of Louis, which was a huge North-South connection. We ended up being brought up in a Bible college campus down in Cape Town. I remember watching the students and thinking, I want to be like them. I found that the only way to be like them was to get to know their God.

That was what happened when I was there over in Africa. Then we moved over to Scotland. I was captivated by what God was doing around about.

I got involved in church work and got married to a wonderful man who loves the Lord. We live in St. Andrews, now in Scotland. Well, that's exciting.

Those of us who have been to Scotland will affirm it's a nice place to be. It is. Very nice. Now, I understand you had a really difficult struggle with COVID in the last year or so. Tell us about that, because I think it's a part of what we're going to be talking about today in the Psalms. Tell us about your journey. I got COVID in March 2020, and we actually had big plans. We were about to move out to Kenya and to work in a seminary out there.

But I guess we all had to lay down our plans in March 2020 and submit to all the things that were going on around about us. It was at that time of really global lament and darkness that I became very, very ill with COVID and struggling to breathe and unable to speak for the first 10 months. I wasn't able to stand for any length of time or walk.

So, it was a very quiet place, our house. I ended up just sitting on the couch and turned to the Psalms, and there I found not only hope, but just steadying peace in the middle of that big storm that we were all in. That big storm that we were all in. You know, I think many people can identify with that all over the world because, of course, COVID affected people in different ways, as you well know. Even those who didn't get the virus, they were affected in terms of work and relationships and all of that. But those who went through physical pain like you did and all of what you've just described can certainly identify with that. So, while you were walking through that valley, what did the Psalms mean to you? Well, you know, they became a place of real hope and of real joy.

And so, I had COVID, long COVID for three years until February the 9th of last year. And I just, I found so much deep theology that just resonated in me. And I ended up not kind of turning to, you know, that old well-worn phrase, God has a wonderful plan for your life. I ended up seeing that in a very different way and saying, no, God has my life for his wonderful plan. So, I can rest and I can be at peace because he is sovereign and he knows what's happening. So, I just ended up just being in the Psalms and finding out so much more about him. So, that wonderful plan that God has for our lives doesn't always seem wonderful to us, right? No.

We had a professor at Moody who said sometimes God wraps up his goodness in dark packages. And I think that was the truth. That was the truth. Yeah. Yeah.

Wow. Now, you also experienced some other losses a few years ago that pulled the rug from under you. In that season, what took you to the Psalms? Oh, now in that season, that was while we were studying at Moody and my father passed away while we were there just really suddenly, you know, out of a blue sky.

We didn't expect it at all. And during that time, I couldn't keep the words of scripture that I really needed at that point. I couldn't keep them in my mind.

And so, what I ended up doing was I ended up starting to write out the Bible and the writing became drawings. And I've been keeping them on shelves, Gary, for the last 14 years, resisting any attempts of my husband to say, you know, you need to put these out there. And I kept saying, no, no, no, no.

That's just for me. And then one day my sister came to me and just said, Heather, if you don't put this out here, it's a sin against the church. And I thought, oh. She came in with all of the big things, you know, and I ended up thinking, okay, I'll put them out there and then one thing led to another. Well, for our listeners, I just want to say, you know, I've got the book right here in front of me.

I'm telling you, it's absolutely incredible. There's the Psalms and then there's comments on the Psalms, which you wrote when you were going through all of this. And then there's these drawings, this artwork through the whole book that captures, and especially those of you who have an interest in art, I mean, it will capture your heart.

So thank God for your sister. You know, I think sometimes people wonder what was going on in the life and the mind of a writer when they read their books. And I think knowing a little bit about your story, what you've just shared with us, that you wrote these things, really just you and God sitting there in the midst of all that you were going through, the shock and the loss of your dad and all of that, and just using your art ability to illustrate things with art. I think this makes the book even more meaningful through the readers.

So I'm glad your sister talked you into trouble. Well, this is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman and Heather Holdsworth is joining us from Scotland. She has written and illustrated a journey through the Psalms titled Landscape of Hope. We have it linked at our website, buildingrelationships.us.

You'll find more ways to strengthen your relationships right there at buildingrelationships.us. Landscape of Hope is the title of the book we're discussing today, and it has an eye-catching cover. Can you describe that cover for us to our listeners?

Yes, gladly. So the cover is from the verses in Psalm 1, where the beautiful description of the tree, it comes from verse 3, and it says, He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper. And what we see is this flourishing tree, and all the way through its trunk, it just is the word planted.

He shall be like a tree, or like a tree. And then we have the roots going down into the riverbank, and it says it's planted there by the rivers of water. So words kind of crisscross all the way through the image of the tree, trying to illustrate the flourishing and the fruitfulness and the beauty of it. And then below that on the bottom part, it's all reflected in the water. All those words on the tree are reflected in the water. Yeah, that's right. It's amazing.

Thank you. Tell us about the illustrations inside the book. Why did you start drawing out the Bible? What made you draw the Psalms?

Because I think most of our listeners would not have even heard or thought about drawing out the Psalms, using art to draw out the Psalms. Yeah, the art is such a gift. You know, it's really interesting. The conversations that I've had over the last couple of years around art, it seems to take down barriers between people. I seem to be able to look side by side, you know, and be in wonder at the words of the scriptures and at the beauty of them. But why I started drawing out the Bible was really to be able to carry the words of scripture into my day. And I think especially when a storm hits and when things get difficult, then it's hard to recollect what we've read in the morning, you know? And so that was just such a help to be able to illustrate the words, to be able to draw out the meaning of the text, and then be able to hold those images through the days.

Yeah, I think that's a very interesting concept, and I'm gonna be honest, I've never had never thought of that. Of course, I'm not an artist, okay? I appreciate art.

I'm just not an artist. Why do you think that as Christians we're often drawn to the Psalms? What makes this book different from other books in the Bible?

Oh, that's really interesting. Why we're drawn to the Psalms, I think one of the reasons is because the Psalmist speaks directly to God. He isn't saying, this happened and then that. He's not narrating so much as speaking straight to the Lord and saying, Lord, why did the wicked prosper?

Lord, how long do I have to wait in this situation? And as he speaks directly to God, we have this real dynamism in the conversation, and it resonates, and it really connects with where we are. I think the other thing is that it's a songbook, which is beautiful. So the theology isn't just left flat on the page for us to highlight and to circle and to study, but it's put into the bodies of people, into our lungs and into our heads, the noise resonating around and into the fingers of musicians. And we kind of carry the truth of God in our bodies and as communities as we sing out his truth, it's quite beautiful. I was looking at the coronation a while back of King Charles, and it's just really interesting as he walked in this tiny man in front of this huge cathedral, and they could have read out the scriptures about Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, but actually the singing of it just lifted us all into amazing spaces of wonder and seeing how great and large God is. So I think we're drawn to music.

Yeah, I think you're right. There are churches, even in our generation, that actually sing the Psalms. Yes. Now I've never been in a church like that. Have you been in a church where they actually sing the Psalms? Yes, it's a really strong tradition here in Scotland.

And if you go up to the Highlands of Scotland, they don't have, some of the churches don't have musical instruments, they have a presenter at the front who starts the singing and everybody joins in. It's really beautiful. You make me want to be there. That's great.

But I think you're right. I think part of what draws us to the Psalms is the reality of them, as you said, with the Psalmist actually talking to God, often in hard places. And we can do the same thing. You're not going to scare God by being honest with him about what you're thinking and feeling, right?

No, no, he knows. So what is the power of poetry? Because the Psalms also, there's a lot of poetic expressions there. So what's the power of poetry that we can encounter in the Psalms?

And why did they move us in that manner? It's interesting that we wouldn't necessarily go to a poet for help in our lives. We don't seek out those books very often. But it's wonderful what this poetry does. Poems kind of take the calendar of life of the normal things that are happening.

And then they give us more, they give us, they kind of move us to the heart level where all the activity is. And I guess if we wanted to know about David's throne and it being taken away from him, we could read that in 2 Samuel. But actually, if we want to hear of the heartbreak of a father and his son, of David and Absalom, then we go to Psalm 3. And it speaks there so strongly of his heartache and his fracturing at this awful thing that has happened. And the same with other passages, with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, and we could go to Kings and find out all the information about it. But actually, if we want to know the ache of that and the sin that just drove David's heart into the dirt, we go to Psalm 51 with, create me a clean heart, Lord, to take your Holy Spirit from me, restore to me the joy of my salvation. And we've got just so much more. They give us so much more. Poet poetry here is so meaningful and so deep.

I don't know the percentage of population in any country that is composed of people who we would say are artists or musicians or poets. But we do know that they permeate the culture, you know, and all of us interface with these kind of people along the way. And so I think anyone who not only has interest along those lines are going to find this book to be fascinating as they walk through the Psalms. You focus on the first 14 Psalms.

Yes. Why did you choose those particular Psalms? So the first 14 Psalms, the reason that I put those together was that they've been edited together. It's really fascinating that the book of Psalms isn't a chronological book. You know, when we start with David and Goliath, and then we move on to him getting the throne and all of these things. That's what we sort of expect when we come to a book, you know, that it starts, like Genesis, it starts in Eden and then it moves through. But the Psalms aren't like that. They are put together in a beautiful way.

There's some wonderful new scholarship around this over the last little while. And it says that Psalms one and two, that's almost the trailer for the whole book, but then three to seven is this movement towards Zion and God. And then eight, we have this beautiful song in the middle of, oh Lord, how Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth. And then nine to 14 move away and end up at the gates, at hell's gates. So we have this little collection in the first book in the Psalms, which goes together really quite beautifully.

So that's why it's in, it's in just chosen 14. I wonder if those if those areas that you mentioned there are kind of followed through the rest of the Psalms, that they're, you know, kind of put together. Like, I don't know, have you noticed that at all or not? Yes, yes. There's little groups all the way through.

The next one is 15 to 25. And there are, there are words referencing sunrise at the beginning of 15, 16. And then it goes into the noonday sun and the dependence of God then, and then all the way to sunset in chapter 24, 25. So it's a beautiful other little package that is put together. It's beautiful, yeah. Well, for those who haven't studied the Psalms in that manner, this would be a challenge as we read through the Psalms ourselves to look for patterns like that, you know, throughout throughout all the Psalms.

Very interesting. So what would you say are the high and low points in the first 14 Psalms? Yes, there's a lot of lows, to be fair, because there's 11 laments in these first 14.

There's quite a lot of lows. To be honest, Gary, I think I would go to Psalm 3 for the real low. You know, the whole idea that a father is being supplanted by a son, that the son is weaponizing the father's friends to overthrow him, that must have brought such an ache into the heart of David. And the way that he speaks of it is really quite stirring. He starts with Psalm 3 saying, how they have increased to trouble me. Many are they who rise up against me, who say there is no help for him in God. And you just feel, you know, the bottom has fallen out of his world as this little boy that he had hoped for, hopes for, has come to to do him harm. But then he continues to look up. He keeps on finding hope in God and speaks to himself and then speaks to the Lord saying, but you, O Lord, are a shield around me. You are my glory and the one who lifts up my head. So, it's quite amazing that in each of these dark dungeons, the consistent conviction of David's soul is, God is here with me.

He hasn't walked out the door. It's just beautiful. Yeah. You know, Heather, I find a lot of times and through my years in counseling, I've encountered so many people, that when they go through difficult times, like you've just described in David's life, they kind of turn away from God. You know, they say to themselves, if God really loved me, he wouldn't allow this to happen to me.

Yeah. And some of the times, they sometimes drop out of church, you know, just stop going to church and go through a period in which they just kind of walk away from God. And I think that's something which is tragic, you know. So, if there's a listener out there like that today, what would you say to them? I think that David can say again and again through the Psalms, that we can work out our anger and frustration with God, that he's not worried about it, that he's not scared. And in Psalm 13 particularly, the Psalm is so filled with darkness and with sorrow. As David says, it's been too long, Lord.

You know, how long will you hide your face from me? And I mean, he's really stern with the Lord, and he's crying out. And do you know, Psalm 13 has got this most beautiful pattern in it, where he starts with crying out, and then he makes a really strong complaint. You know, will my enemy be exalted over me?

How long must I have sorrow in my heart? And then he has this time of trying to put his thoughts together and making a request of God. Lord, I'm not just going to throw out accusations.

I actually want you to do something. So, he engages with God really strongly in the middle of it. And I think that that is it's such a strong thing to do and such a thing that costs and takes a lot of courage, but we're really exhorted and encouraged to do that, to come to God without complaints and with our sorrows and then with our request. And then he moves on to remembering what God did in the past.

And I think that's a hugely strong thing. It's like, wait a minute, the God who was with me then is the same God who's with me now. And so, he remembers, but I trusted in you. And then he says, I will sing.

I will sing. So, I think, you know, when many have walked away from God, it's often at a time of there's just been fracturing and sadness, but we've walked, we've turned before actually engaging. And I think the call is to come and speak to him, you know, shut the door, get on our beds and call out and cry out and say, Lord, you were God in the light. Now you have to be God in the dark. You have to be.

Yeah. Heather Holdsworth is joining us today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. And if you go to buildingrelationships.us, you'll see our featured resource, her book, Landscape of Hope, an illustrated journey into the Psalms.

Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. Before the break, Heather was talking about Psalm 13. I just want to read that for anybody who's struggling or who's saying, hey, you know, the Bible really doesn't touch on my life and what I'm going through. Listen to these words. How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God, light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemies say I have prevailed over him, lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love. My heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Gary, respond to that. You know, Chris, I think that's a beautiful picture of reality that I just wish people when they're disappointed in God. That's why the Psalms is so powerful. You know, you can do exactly what David did.

Listen, I don't know that any of us have ever gone through anything more difficult than David went through in his life, okay? But being honest with God, open with God about how you're feeling, you know, in the midst of all of that, and yet crying out to God as you have led in the past, as you have worked in the past, Lord, work in my life now. And so it's like you're being honest with God, but you're running to God for help, and you're sharing your pain with God rather than running away from God. I've sometimes said to people in my office, if you're going to run away from God, where are you going?

Where are you going? You know, Jesus said, when he said to some of his followers, when some of the multitudes began to go away because they didn't like what he was teaching, and he said to his disciples, he said, would you also go away? And I think it was Peter who said, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. There's no offer of eternal life anywhere else to be found. You know, God is God. And though we don't always understand the things that happen to us in a broken world, if we run to God, we're going to end up at the right place. But running away from God, we're going to suffer even more difficulty.

So, oh man, powerful concept. I love what you're saying, Gary, and I think the other thing that's in here, and Heather, correct me if I'm wrong about this, the other thing in here is unique to our faith, and that is that we don't earn it from God. We don't deserve any of his goodness or his kindness or his mercy or his grace. And that's why David says, I have trusted in your steadfast love. It's because of his mercy, right, Heather?

Yes. In fact, I was just looking at those verses about mercy this morning and where he says, as for me, I will come into your house in the multitude of your mercy. I will worship towards your holy temple. Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness.

Make your way straight before my face. But there's this whole idea all the way through the Psalms of the undeserved kindness that we can receive from the Lord. And we can just almost be drenched by it. You know that this undeserved favor that he pours out on us, it's his kindness that leads us to repentance, isn't it? Absolutely. Heather, there are verses in the Psalms that are uncomfortable.

They kind of leave you to the feeling of there's nowhere to go. Yeah. Can you talk about those Psalms? And as an artist, what did you do with these Psalms? Yes, I think particularly we're looking at a warrior poet. So it's not just somebody who's looking after sheep. You know, he's got a sword in his hand. He's in fear for his life. And many of his words are very strong against his enemies. And I think in our culture, it doesn't really work very often because we think, well, we don't want to shout out about our enemies. Don't we want to love them? But there's some strong words that in Psalm 5, particularly when he speaks about his enemies and says there's no faithfulness in their mouths. There are inward parts of destruction. Their throats are an open tomb. They flatter with their tongue. And he says, pronounce them guilty.

Oh God, let them fall by their own counsel. And you think, well, that is strong, you know. But I think it's strong for us in the West. But then if we just go a little bit east, right now in many different countries, there's such sorrow being brought in by brutality. And those words resonate there.

Let them fall, Lord. And I think at the time when I was drawing this, there were wars and awful things that were coming through the news feeds. And it was very, very strong as David calls out for God to intervene and to intervene in huge ways.

Yeah, so drawing those things out and listening to the news at the same time, you know, it connected, connected deeply. Yeah, yeah. I think we have to recognize there is evil in the world, right?

Yes. And there are people that are cooperating with Satan, who is the enemy of God. And yeah, we cry out to God for judgment upon those who are doing wrong. But, you know, the scriptures say God is long suffering, not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance. That's his desire, that they'll repent of what they've done so he can forgive them. So, you know, God's heart is always open to forgive if people are willing to confess their failures and what they've done that's wrong.

Yeah. Can you just pick a memorable Psalm passage for you from the book and just talk with us about that particular passage for a moment? Of course. There's beautiful passages all the way through, but Psalm 11, verse 4, was a beautiful verse that just lifted my eyes and lifts our eyes. Can I read it for you, Gary?

Is that alright? So it says, The Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord's throne is in heaven. His eyes behold and test the sons of men. And it's just describing at a point where David's companions are in fear and they're trying to make him run away. And it says David's companions are begging to flee for the mountains, escape the peril, find somewhere safe. But the warrior shepherd has met danger before.

Lions have tracked him on lonely hillsides and bears have leapt out to devour his life. So rather than racing for distant rocks, he stands still. He offers his friends some thoughts on stability. Peace is about far more than location. We find rest in the place that we're held. We need someone unmoved by treachery or rattled by legions of fighters.

We need someone unshakable. And David looks up. The rule of the Almighty is fixed in the heavens. It will not fade or fall. From his throne, justice and strength cascade. He is there. He stands firm forever and the shepherd's song rises. Yes, despair is available, but why waste the energy when his eternal companion sees all from his immortal throne?

It's powerful. Such wonderful words from David in the midst of fear and trepidation. Yeah. Yeah. I'm hearing you say earlier, you wrote these words out of your own struggle and your own pain in response to this Psalm, right?

I did. It was difficult to breathe during this time. I had asthma and long COVID and yet each, each breath was a big effort, you know, but at the same time being steadied by the fact that God is strong and He knows what He's doing.

Because if I was still on the couch now, God would still be sovereign and He would still be in charge. So yeah, I took great strength from knowing He was close. Yeah.

Yeah. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . If you go to buildingrelationships.us, you'll find more ways to strengthen your relationships and you'll see Heather Holdsworth's illustrated journey through the Psalms. It's titled Landscape of Hope.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Heather, we started the program talking about your long COVID and the struggle that you had. And then in February of last year, something changed. And now you mentioned in the last segment, you got up off the couch and you're able to speak and to breathe again. So something must have happened.

Tell us about that. Something did and something very surprising. So I was to go to a conference and I drove across to a town called Perth, which is just about an hour away, and parked.

I have a blue badge, so a disabled badge that allows me to park anywhere. So anyway, I went into the conference and sat next to a man and had this wonderful conversation where we really sensed the Lord was in the conversation. And as we talked, he then said, oh, where did you park? You know, just before the conference started. And I said, oh, I've got long COVID.

I parked just outside. And he said, okay. So then the man preached and there was singing, but I couldn't stand or sing or any of those things.

But anyway, those things were all happening. And then we were to pray for each other and in each other's ministries. So he tapped me on the hand and said, Heather, I think I meant to pray for you. So he prayed for me.

I prayed for him. Then he stood up and looked down at me and said, when Peter saw the man at the gate who couldn't walk, he said, silver and gold, I don't have, but what I have, I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ, stand up and walk. And he just put out his hand and said to me, so Heather, in the name of Jesus Christ, stand up and walk. And I took his hand and I was broken.

I just, I took his hand and I gave him a hug and then he had to leave. And then the singing started. And the next thing I was aware of, Chris, was that I was standing. I was singing at the top of my lungs and about half an hour had gone by. And from that instant, from that very moment, God healed me.

And it was just astonishing. And the doctor has now recorded, he's recorded in my medical notes, miraculous recovery. And the speech therapist, the speech therapist who was working with me all the way along because of my voice, she just kept saying, but this is impossible.

This is impossible as she tested me. And she asked me just last week to come and speak to her class, her whole course at the university and tell them what happened and to explain that this amazing intervention. So it has been astonishing really. Yeah, we did it. We told people like Leviticus tells you to do it, you know, to show yourself to the priest.

So we went to our minister and to ministers before, and we went to speak to them and they were just astonished. And we've just been giving glory to the Lord just again and again through this time. Well, God has the same power today he did when Jesus walked on earth, right?

Yes, yes, he does. But you know, there was one other thing. I was at a prayer meeting just a few months ago and I opened the book of Psalms. We were reading around and I was given the verses to read. It was good for me to have been afflicted, that I might learn your law. Your words to me are sweeter than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. And I just felt the wonder and this thankfulness to the Lord that he gave this gift, which he didn't need to give, but he did. And it's just been so wonderful. Yeah.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, you know, we talked about the Psalmist and the dark moments in his life, as well as in your life. In the Psalms, were there ways that people processed their despair, their anger, their loss? Kind of summarize that.

How did they process that? Yes, I think one of the really helpful ways was through Psalm 13 and the process of lament. There's five different steps that there are there, but also there's a beautiful verse in Psalm 4. Now, why do I say it's beautiful? Actually, it's beautiful because it gives us such a gift. It says, be angry, but do not sin. But then it keeps going and it speaks about what we should do with our anger. And it gives us such a helpful process and says, meditate within your heart, on your bed and be still. And then it says, offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord. And it has this beautiful invitation to come and process deep and dark things with God and close ourself off and spend time alone with Him and offer the sacrifices of righteousness, which is costly, rather than going and telling everybody else about the worries and the sorrows, coming and sharing it with God, and then putting our trust in Him, that He knows what He's doing. I think our listeners who are going through difficult times are going to really profit not only from hearing what we're talking about today, but from working through this book that you've written on the Psalms.

It's just powerful. You mentioned meditation. It's a word that different people interpret differently. But we're told to meditate on the Word of God. Talk about that, the process of meditating. Yes, because often we think of meditation as emptying our minds and disconnecting from our thoughts. But that's not the way that God asks us to meditate. He asks us to meditate actively, you know, by bringing our whole minds and hearts to the table. And filling our minds with His Word. And it might be just a phrase that we carry in our mind as we walk on the hills, or it might be a whole passage. But I think it's looking deeply at the words.

For me, it was writing them out again and again in different shapes and with different images. But I think it's looking at the words, looking at the verbs, at the action and the movement in the passages, and sitting in the presence of God with His words and His book and allowing Him to speak, allowing Him to finish His sentences and not us running away and doing the next thing, but just allowing Him to take time with us. Yeah. You mentioned the word sitting. I think there are many, many Christians today who their input or their exposure to the Word of God is in church when they hear a pastor speaking on the Word of God.

But that many of them do not have a daily sit down and listen time with God, in which they, with the Scriptures in their hands, are reading it and doing exactly what you said earlier, writing phrases down. And of course, you being an artist, you're drawing pictures about it. Yes, yes. I think if we could have a rediscovery of the whole thing of just sitting down with God, consciously talking to God, you know, and listening to God, it'll help us greatly in the midst of our struggles and our pain with what's happening in our lives, right? You're absolutely right. And I think often that we come to God with big plans, you know, I'll meet you every day at this time. And then if we don't, we have such frustration, you know, and we imagine that God must be very frustrated with us too, because really, He's just another version of us. He's not.

He's so much more. He's gracious and kind and wants to meet with us. And it's funny, I was just teaching on meditating and on sitting with God in silence just this week. And what I wonder is might be a helpful way to look at our devotional practice is maybe looking at bigger chunks and looking at our whole week, the next seven days and saying, do you know, I would like to give the Lord a couple of hours on Thursday afternoon, or, you know, and planning it in bigger chunks so that we think, oh, I'm going to make a plan.

This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to take this time and I'm going to go to a place and I'm going to take my journal and I'm going to take my Bible and I'm going to have an appointment with God there. And that might be a really helpful way rather than us beating ourselves up all that, you know, often if we don't do exactly what we had thought we could do, but looking at it in a bigger picture and as a conversation with a friend. I like that idea. We make appointments all the time, don't we?

For other things. I could look at my calendar and tell you what I'm going to be doing tomorrow, you know, and the rest of today. So making appointments with God, put it on your calendar.

I like that a lot. You know, I've often wondered what Jesus thought as he read the Psalms because he was acquainted with the Psalms. You know, I mean, it was all there then. Have you ever considered that?

What are your thoughts on that? I have, and I think it's a beautiful thing to study the times that Jesus quoted the Psalms and he quoted them a number of times through his ministry. He kept on coming back to, I suppose this was his song book, wasn't it, Kerry? This was the songs that he sang with his disciples and with people in the temples. He quoted them, but I sense that he got a lot of strength from being able to reference the emotional and beautiful ways that the Psalmist came to speak about God and to speak about what was going on around about. One of the other very poignant times in the Psalms was around Jesus's death.

So we can read at the end of all the gospels about how Christ died and all of the different information about who he met and what was happening and the trials. But if we want to know about what was happening in the heart of God, in the heart of God the Son, we go to Psalm 22 and we see there the agony of being separated from his father and we see there the reality of his heart and what was going on for him at that time. And I think that there's so much richness and depth in these words of poetry that speak into our lives and into our just everyday just everyday things as well as into the times when the storms hit and we need the steadying presence of God. Well, Heather, this has been a delightful time chatting with you today about this book, Landscape of Hope. And I really believe that anyone who will get a copy of this and just have some time, have some appointments with God in which you sit down and read the Psalms and your comments and see the art, I think they're going to experience the presence of God and it's going to help them in the middle, whatever they're going through in their life. So again, thank you for being with us today.

It's an absolute pleasure. Well, what an encouraging conversation today with Heather Holdsworth. If you go to buildingrelationships.us, you'll find out more about her excellent book, Landscape of Hope, an illustrated journey in the Psalms. Just go to buildingrelationships.us. And next week, I'll take your questions about any relational struggles you're going through. Don't miss our February Dear Gary in One Week. Our thanks to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Backing. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in Chicago in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-17 02:25:37 / 2024-02-17 02:42:51 / 17

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