Friday, May 30, 2008

In Trouble

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging."

(Psalm 46:1-3)

The Psalms are ancient musical poetry, putting aside objective examination of life and expressing the reality of life as it is experienced. The sometimes widely-varying tone of these writings invites us to see parallels in our lives today, and to respond as the Psalmists did -- ultimately choosing to trust God in all circumstances.

But I think instead we sometimes read passages like this differently, changing the words to fit our perceptions of God rather than allowing the words to shape our perceptions. We speak and act as if God were an ever-present help out of trouble rather than an ever-present help within it.

Life is sometimes messy. Complicated. Unpleasant. Even downright painful. When we insist that God make life easier, we rob ourselves of truly knowing His presence and power in the midst of every circumstance. Only when we recognize and submit to this God will we be empowered to hold fast even when it appears the world is falling apart around us.

This week, I encourage you to read Psalm 46. Then read it again. And again. Let your mind become immersed in it, and allow it to seep into your soul.

Lectionary texts for this Sunday: Genesis 6:9-22, 7:24, 8:14-19; Psalm 46; Romans 1:16-17, 3:22b-31; Matthew 7:21-29.

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