Sunday, May 11, 2014

So much trouble, everywhere.

Persecution is rampant, all over the world. Our own culture has never been so hostile to believers, although I would argue that human nature has never changed, and secular society has always been worldly.

On a personal level, nearly everyone I know is going through difficulty. Some situations go beyond, to crushing.

A wife who watches her husband growing weaker, sicker, possibly losing a years’-long battle with cancer.

Parents hearing the diagnosis that their child’s illness is untreatable.

A father and husband in the prime of life, killed in a freak accident, leaving behind wife and children.

We may not be in such deep crisis ourselves, but often enough, opposition hammers us from all sides. Maybe we simply feel overwhelmed and inadequate to deal with a deluge of small things which would be easy enough to deal with if they came alone.

Maybe it's the slow grind of despair, the death of hopes and dreams.

Whether our adversary wears a human face or no face at all, how can we bear it?

In times like these, the Psalms draw me. I’ve been fond of telling my children, Proverbs may be the book that teaches us how to live, but the Psalms teach us how to worship. How to pray. How to relate to God, intimately.

Psalm 3 (NKJV)
Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
There is no help for him in God.”

How often do we feel condemned, either by those around us or the voices inside our own heads? You’ll never make it out of this one. Things will never change. You’re just hopeless.

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

It’s God Himself who reaches down in the middle of those situations, and tips our chin up so we can look beyond the situation ... to look at Him.

I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.

Sometimes it isn’t just about getting up and going on. Sometimes it’s all we can do to take the next breath, to just face another day.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.

God hears us, oh yes ... and answers.

Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people.

Thank You, Lord, that You do save us!


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