I really love the Message’s translation of Psalm 130:3-4: “If you, God, kept records of wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.” Isn’t this a lovely way of putting it? Particularly the last part that states “forgiveness is your habit.” What this psalm is implying is that it is because of God’s mercy and grace poured out on us that we revere him. We can’t help but worship and adore him when we realize that no matter what we do, he will never abandon us or stop offering us his grace.

This portion of Psalm 130 reminded me of my favorite book by C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces. The novel is a re-telling of the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros, and it follows the life of Orual, sister of the beautiful Psyche. The novel is set up as Orual’s accusation against the gods (who stand-in for God in this text), and all of it is written to expose what Orual believes to be the horrible cruelty and injustice of the gods whom she has always believed were responsible for her suffering.

The story culminates when Orual recounts a vision of the afterlife shortly before her death. In this vision, Orual’s world is utterly shattered. She is horrified to discover that all of the pain and cruelty she ascribed to the gods was actually pain and cruelty brought about by her selfishness and her disordered love for those around her. It is a heart-wrenching moment since from the very beginning of the novel Lewis masterfully causes you to identify with all of the things Orual feels and does, only to discover (with her!) that all of the people she loved most in the world were hurt and destroyed, not by the gods, but by her. By the time she realizes all this, though, it’s too late to go back and change anything. Her life is almost at its end.

At this point, Orual is completely demoralized by her own brokenness. In despair, she says to her old tutor, the Fox (who is with her in her vision of the afterlife):

ORUAL: I cannot hope for mercy.

THE FOX: Infinite hopes–and fears–may both be yours. Be sure that, whatever else you may get, you will not get justice.

ORUAL: Are the gods not just?

THE FOX: Oh, no, child. What would become of us if they were?

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