All I Know So Far

All I Know So Far

Psalm 25

Alecia Beth Moore was born September 8, 1979 and grew up in Doylestown, PA and took on her stage name, Pink, when she was only 14 years old.  Her parents separated when she was 9 years old and she lived with her mother, who she had a terrible relationship with during her teen years.  The day that her father left, Moore wrote a poem that she later released as a song titled Family Portrait when she was 21; it peaked in the top 20 in both the U.K. and the U.S.  I think the lyrics are both heartbreaking and telling:

Momma please stop cryin’, I can’t stand the sound
Your pain is painful and its tearin’ me down
I hear glasses breakin’ as I sit up in my bed
I told dad you didn’t mean those nasty things you
Said

You fight about money, bout me and my brother
And this I come home to, this is my shelter
It ain’t easy growin up in World War III
Never knowin what love could be, you’ll see
I don’t want love to destroy me like it has done
My family

Moore said of her relationship with her mother that it was terrible during her teenage years.  Her mom was a single parent who worked full-time as an ER nurse while she attended school at night.  Moore said that she and her older brother essentially raised themselves during those years; she also notes that they, “…didn’t grow up with money.  No one was famous in my family.”[1]      

From an early age, Moore was naturally gifted in writing, singing, and performing.  When she was only 14 years old, she was already performing in Philadelphia clubs and embraced her stage name Pink.  Two years later, LaFace Records offered Pink a solo recording contract.  And by the year 2000, Pink’s debut studio album, Can’t Take Me Home reached double-platinum that included two songs in the Billboard Hot 100 top ten songs: “There You Go” and “Most Girls.”  Since her debut album, Pink has released 8 studio albums with 15 of those songs toping 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and four of those songs were at #1. 

Pink met her husband, Carey Hart, who is a former professional freestyle motocross competitor and the first motorcyclist to perform a back flip on a 250cc motorcycle, during a competition; Hart is featured in Pink’s “All I Know So Far.”  The two split in 2003, but were married in 2006 after getting back together.  In 2008 the two separated for 11 months, but have been back together ever since.  Their daughter, Willow, was born in 2011 and their son Jameson was born in 2016.  It is important to Pink and her husband that their family stay together even while she is on tour, so they do all that they can to do just that.

Sometime in March of 2020, both Pink and her son, Jameson (who was 3 at the time) had COVID-19.  Pink described that time while watching her son try to recover: “There have been many nights where I cried, and I have never prayed more in my life…. At one point I heard myself saying, ‘I thought they promised us our kids would be OK.’”  While also suffering from COVID, Pink, who also suffers from asthma, that she had to be on nebulizers for the first time in 30 years.[2]

While suffering from COVID, Pink rewrote her will thinking that she might not survive the virus.  She called a friend and asked her to tell Willow how much she loved her.  She also thought that as a parent, what was she really leaving for her kids?  She asked herself, “What am I teaching my kids?  Will they make it in this crazy world? What do I need to tell them if this is the last time I get to tell them anything?”  As she reflected on her life and her children, Pink believes that people can create the world that you want to live in.  Her experience with covid, was the catalyst for writing “All I Know So Far.” 

The song and music video received critical acclaim.  The video received more than 4 million its first week after debuting on May 7, 2021, and currently it has received over 14 million views.  The song is based on Pink’s life and career and serves as advise from the lessons she has learned over the course of her life in the form of a love letter to her daughter.

In the music video, before the song begins, Pink shares what the song is really about: “This is my story, its mine to tell about how I learned to break out of my cell.  There’s only one way you can truly live free, it lies in the power when ‘I’ becomes ‘me.’”

When things don’t go the way that you want things to go.  When life becomes complicated.  “When it’s right, or ‘til the world blows up… Pink advises:

Just throw your head back, and spit in the wind.

Let the walls crack, ‘cause it lets the light in. 

Let ‘em drag you through hell. 

They can’t tell you to change who you are. 

And when the storm’s out, you run in the rain. 

Put your sword down, dive right into the pain. 

Stay unfiltered and loud, you’ll be proud of that skin full of scars. 

That’s all I know so far.” 

There is no doubt that there is some wisdom in Pink’s advice to her daughter.  You can’t cower when life beats you down and things do not go the way that you want them.  You can’t let what people say force you into a particular mold that others want you to fit in.  To “spit in the wind” is to “waste your time by trying to do something which has little or no chance of success.”[3]

However, the mold is not what you think it is.  The mold is not what we make of our own selves.  The one note that you will hear throughout the Psalms is that you and I exist for a God who made us in his image and our purpose is found in the one whose image we bear. 

There is a better way, and that way does not negate the way God wired you from birth.  Your gifts, your personality, your gender, and even your pain play into your purpose as one uniquely made in the image of God.  As I thought about Pink’s song and the reason why she wrote it, I thought about what I would want my children to take with them as they seek to live lives that matter in this world.  My thoughts turned to Psalm 25; there are five pieces of wisdom that this Psalm shares with all who read it which also speak into the message Pink wanted to convey to her daughter and all who listen to her song.

God is for His People and Not Against Them (vv. 1-3)

We do not know the circumstances surrounding Psalm 25 and the specifics for why David wrote this song, but we do know from the first three verses that David was battling shame.  The word “shame” is used three times in the first three verses and again in verse 20.  The word for shame here is not the kind of shame you might experience with being embarrassed.  It is not the same type of shame described in Webster’s dictionary: “A painful emotion excited by a consciousness of guilt, disgrace or dishonor.”[4] 

The shame that is referred to by David in his song, is the kind of shame is associated with being let down or disappointed.  It is the kind of shame one might experience after discovering that the person you once trusted in was not worthy of your trust at all.  The kind of shame referred to in these verses is the kind of shame Paul described one might experience if Jesus never really rose from the grave: “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:16–19).

Some of you may have a view of God very similar to the character, Bruce in the movie Bruce Almighty who concluded after a series of events that did not go his way: “God is just a mean kid with a magnifying glass. And I’m the ant. He could fix my life in five minutes if He wanted to, but he’d rather burn off my feelers and watch me squirm.”  In the midst of his circumstances, David sings to his God: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.  O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.  Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame…”.

The point David is making in these early verses, according to James Montgomery Boice is this: “Those who have staked their all on God will not be abandoned by him in the end. This is the way David uses shame in this psalm.”[5]  To trust in God is not spitting in the wind, but those who are “wantonly treacherous” will be put to shame; in other words, to break the Law of God is to spit in the wind.  However, God is for his people and not against them, so trusting in Him is not pointless or empty. 

God’s Ways are Your Pathway to Thriving (vv. 4-7)

The truth is that there is a key and a book that leads to life and thriving, and that key and book is not your inner compass or your ability to press through the storms of life.  There is a wisdom beyond us that is given to us, for this is why the Psalms begins with these sage words: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers”(Psalm 1:1-3). 

Where does that wisdom that is outside of ourselves come from?  It comes from the Law of the Lord… it comes from the Word of God!  “Make me to know your ways O LORD; teach me your paths” (v. 4).  Where do the paths of the LORD lead?  They led to him; they lead to, “the God of my salvation…” (v. 5).  So who is the God who’s way leads to thriving? 

  1. He is the God who is faithful (v. 3)
  2. He is the God of truth (vv. 4-5)
  3. He is the God who saves (v. 6)
  4. He is the God of mercy and unfailing love (v. 6)
  5. He is the God who is good all the time (v. 10)
  6. He is the God who forgives sinners (v. 11)
  7. He is the God who is a friend to sinners (v. 14)
  8. He is the God whose grace is unmeasurable (v. 16)
  9. He is the God whose power is unmatched (v. 15, 20)
  10. He is the God who is a refuge to all who seek him (v. 20)
  11. He is the God who redeems and rescues (v. 22)

It is this God that David was confident that he would not be put to shame by trusting him and by finding his purpose and meaning from.  On what will you stand when all you have to stand on are the ashes of what you once held dear?  What power do you have over tomorrow?  Who is it that has the ability to calm the storms that threaten to swallow you whole?  The answer is in the beginning of this Psalm and towards its end: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul” (v. 1); “I take refuge in you” (v. 20).

God’s Grace is Greater than Your Failures (vv. 8-11)

David continues his song: “Good and upright is the Lord…” To be good and upright is to be merciful and just.  How can God execute both mercy and justice at the same time?  Think about the conundrum this seemingly puts God in.  If God is perfect in his justice, how can he pardon the guilty.  Any judge that acquits one who has been found guilty of a crime without penalty is not a good judge.  So, how can a good God exercise mercy by refraining to give a person what that person deserves and at the same time executing his perfect justice because his white-hot holiness demands it?    

The answer to how God can exercise mercy and justice on the same person is found in the 23rd Psalm.  Notice how Psalm 23 begins and ends: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake…. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:1-3, 6). 

You may be asking: “How in the world does Psalm 23 reconcile the problem of a person experiencing God’s perfect mercy and his perfect justice at the same time?”  Jesus answers that question for us in John 10:9-11, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:9–11). Jesus is the Good Shepherd who, “restores my soul” and “leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd who provides the “goodness and mercy” that follow the sinner all the days of his/her life. 

What reconciles the perfect mercy of God and the perfect justice of God when it comes to guilty sinners is the cross of Christ!  David looked to the promise of a deliverer as did every person who worshiped the God of Moses before the Cross of Christ.  The answer to who a holy God can pardon guilty sinners while remaining just was, is, and forever will be the Cross of Christ!  Jesus leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake, and this is why David was able to prayerfully sing: “all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.  For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt for it is great” (vv. 10-11). 

How do I know that God will not give up on me?  It is his “steadfast love and faithfulness” rooted in the pardon that was planned for David through Christ and my pardon purchased for me by Christ.  It is through Jesus’ scars, not my skin full of scars, that reminds me of his grace greater than all of my sins and failures, or as the old hymn aptly describes:

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin![6]

God is a Friend and a Refuge to the Brokenhearted (vv. 12-22)

The point of this Psalm is that the answer to navigating the life before us is not found in ourselves.  The message of the Bible is that our internal compass is broken and does not lead to life.  In fact, in Psalm 34, we are assured that, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (v. 18).  The one who fears the Lord is the one who finds him to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother and a refuge where the storms of life or the enemies of one’s soul can not enter. 

Notice that David does not pray for better circumstances, but instead casts himself upon the God who is infinitely bigger than his circumstances.  That is the response of one who is convinced that God can be trusted and will not put those who seek their refuge in him to shame.  For David, his faith is not just something he believes intellectually, it is something that has profoundly affected him.  Because he fears the Lord, he responds to God in the following ways:

  1. His eyes are on the Lord instead of himself (v. 15)
  2. When he is lonely and afflicted, he seeks the grace of a good God (v. 16)
  3. When he is overwhelmed with anxiety and trouble, he looks to the God who he knows is bigger than his troubles (v. 17).
  4. When surrounded by those who seek to harm him, he trusts that God is able to deliver him (v. 20)
  5. David casts himself upon the God he knows instead of his own wisdom (v. 21)

The point of verses 12-22 is that David’s relationship with God is more than a religion.  For David, the molding of his character, his success, his life, and the circumstances that surround him are not reasons to look to himself, but to cast himself upon the God who will not put him to shame. 

Conclusion

If I were dying and I had only moments to share advise that I know would guide my boys, it would be the principles that come from Psalm 25 I would want them to remember.  My children need something more than my example and they need one who is more sure, who is able to keep them even when the world blows up. Here is what my children need to know:

  1. God is for his people and not against them.
  2. God’s ways lead to thriving.
  3. God’s grace is greater than our failures.
  4. God is a friend of sinners.
  5. God is a refuge to the brokenhearted. 

This is what I know God to be and the way to this God is through Jesus, who as the Good Shephard said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Amen.


[1] Demeter Stamell, The Dail Mail: “Pink talks about her complicated relationship with her mother during a candid interview on The Project”, May 2021.

[2] Christie D’Zurilla, Los Angeles Times: “Pink describes ‘many nights where I cried’ while 3-year-old son battled COVID-19”, April 6, 2020.

[3] Collinsdictionary.com

[4] Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 1–41: An Expositional Commentary (p. 223). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 1–41: An Expositional Commentary (p. 224). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Julia H. Johnston, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”, 1910

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