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 three-year lectionary.
It is amazing how easily we find ourselves feeling either secure or insecure. Our highs are often remarkably high. We feel fine, confident, secure, unshakable. One of my co-workers would occasionally come into the office feeling “nine feet tall and bulletproof.” And frequently all it takes to convince us of that is a good night’s sleep, a nice breakfast, and somebody treating us well.
Even more easily than we trust ourselves as bulletproof, we can find ourselves certain of impending doom. It seems the lights turn out, the clouds gather, and we are certain that they are going to rain on us. Maybe the rain won’t be rain at all. Maybe it will start raining grand pianos and safes, like it always did in the cartoons from my childhood. Of course, they will fall directly on us, not on anybody else. Why? Well, why not?
The Psalmist reflects on the underlying cause of our euphoria and our despair. We feel self-confident because we trust the Lord who makes us strong. What happens then? Our reaction, as sinful humans, is to begin trusting ourselves or our circumstances. Everything’s great! We must be really great ourselves! No need for God, then? No, we’ll just trust ourselves.
What happens then? In verse 7, when God hides his face, we see we are standing out there all by ourselves. It’s terrifying. After all, deep down, we realize that we aren’t nine feet tall and we are far from bulletproof. Worse still, this isn’t just a game of cards, in which we might be able to bluff our way through. No, this is life. We’re playing for keeps.
What do we do? We call out to the Lord. We ask him to be gracious. We ask him to be the one who helps us. And he does exactly that, dressing us in gladness, filling us with hope. We don’t trust ourselves. We trust in the Lord.
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