Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Our nation, no, strike that. Our entire world is dealing with life as described in Psalm 107. I started out thinking of a global pandemic, but it’s actually more serious than that. We need to take this passage of Scripture very seriously. Our entire world is dealing with the situation described for us in Psalm 107:4-5. We are wandering in a desert.
Augustine, commenting on Psalm 63, points out that a desert is not just dry. It is also a place with no roads, or virtually no roads. There are landmarks, but those can change as well, given a good windstorm or the (rare) rainstorm. What does that mean? When we go wandering in a desert, we are very likely to get lost. And in case you think Augustine doesn’t have anything reasonable to say about that, remember he lived much of his life sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert.
We are wandering around in a desert. We really don’t have much guidance. We may know where we intend to go, but it’s extremely difficult to get there. We can’t find the city. This is before electric lights. Cities are basically dark at night. Today we might be able to find a city by looking for a fan of light in the desert at night. Not so way back when. Once people blow out their candles, if they use candles at all, it’s dark. You won’t find home.
In the end, wandering in this desert, we’re faced with desperation. We despair of ever making our way to safety. We know we can’t face too much more time in a place that is sometimes blazing hot, sometimes frigid, and in which our skin is cracking as all the moisture is sucked out of our bodies.
What are we going to do? Go hide? Where? Who will find us? And in what condition? That won’t do us any good.
The Psalmist gives us a solution. We cry out to God and we find out that he is our eternal home. We cry out to God and find that rather than being in the desert, we live in that habitable zone until the end of our earthly life, then we are promised an eternity of blessedness, peace, and rest.
Whether you are in the desert of a wordwide health crisis or in some other desert - job loss, lack of skills, lack of opportunity, or simply a realization that you can’t make your own way, the answer is the same. We turn to God in Christ, who guides us into a place of safety. He is the one who can provide the care we need. He is the one who brings us safely home to himself. By grace, through faith, in Christ alone, we have an eternal hope to reach home. Thanks be to God.
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