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.
Our Psalm this week is incredibly encouraging. It also makes us shake our head and wonder exactly what planet the Psalmist is on. We realize here that we are not always, no, rather, normally not playing on the same field as the author or the Inspirer of the Psalms.
First the encouragement. We are guarded. God is the one who shelters us from all troubles. The snares, the deadly diseases, the attacks of enemies even when they come with their armies, all will be unable to harm us in any way. We are invulnerable as we dwell in the safety provided by God. This is incredible good news. Nothing can harm me as I trust in God.
There’s the problem. We confess that nothing can harm us, then we see people who are trusting in God and facing terrible trials. They become ill, they age, they lose family members, they even face discrimination, persecution, and even imprisonment or death. Trusting in God won’t save you from famine. It won’t save you from the invading army. It won’t save you from the drive-by shooting that was aimed at someone else but happened to throw bullets you direction. As I said in the last paragraph, it’s “incredible” good news. And one of the problems is that we can’t believe it. It is truly incredible. It is daily disproved by the news we can gather from around the world.
What’s going on here? As I said above, we’re not on the same playing field with the author or the Inspirer. What I meant by that is that we look at things from an earthly and temporal perspective. We trust in what we see, what we hear, what we perceive. But we’re talking about trusting in the almighty and eternal God, who sees our life as continuing even past the time of physical death. The New Testament presents Jesus as the resurrection and the life, the one in whom we believe as the firstborn from the dead. He’s the one who gives life, eternal life.
What if the army runs over my town and my home? What if there’s famine? What if I die of a disease, or the effects of old age? What if I’m harmed in some other way in the meantime? God’s promises are still good. He is still the God of eternal life. He is still the God of resurrection. Though I die, yet I will live, because I am trusting in the protective care of God in Christ. This is the hope of the Christian. All of a sudden it doesn’t seem so incredible. It’s entirely within God’s power and grace.
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