Psalm Good News… Want Psalm, Get PSALM! 2020 (spoken w/emphasis like a WWE wrestler)
Over the last several months I have found comfort, truth and reality in the Psalms. Never before have I resonated more with the joy, lament, frustration, hurt, crying out, hope or promises of God recorded by the psalmists as in 2020. His word truly has been a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105) when 2020/Covid turned the lights out! (Psalm 73:21) When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in the heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterwards you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I don’t know about you, but my heart and my flesh have failed more times than I care to admit. It seems that life as we knew it stalled out. Through the struggle, when I teetered on the brink of insanity and/or atheism as an introverted father of 3, Jesus reminded me that even when I am faithless, He is faithful (2 Tim 2:13). That even if I make my bed in Sheol (Psalm 139) He will be there. 1 Peter reminds us when our flesh like the grass withers and the flowers fade around us, or more specifically the kingdoms I have set up in my life crumble like Jericho, His word remains, He is the kingdom that cannot be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28). The fortresses of my opinions and feelings, of fear or whatever else, were worthless but His promises are worthy. See He will never leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6) and furthermore calls me to be strong and courageous in the “fight.”
The “good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12) has never truly felt like such a fight as it has this year. A fight to declare his goodness and victory despite our circumstances. I fought to see the good despite literal and figurative dumpster fires happening outside our back window. When thousands marched down our street crying and lamenting the brokenness of the value of life, of diversity and the beauty of His creation. When an unseen, lurking virus, in virtually anyone, could take a life so indiscriminately. When social distancing and isolation is mandated for all. When children were considered “super spreaders.” That when the world cried for a kingdom, a utopia, but without its King. That very King who has already provided the eternal cure for all of our ailments in Himself. When I became so battle weary, it gave me a glimpse of the burden Jesus bore and the fight He fought…and won for us. I find comfort in the fact that He is continually with me, He holds my right hand, that He is my strength and my portion forever.
My life verse is Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.”
The Lord knows I have I feared and I have dismayed. I believe the world actually encourages it! Yet, the word became flesh, and that Word and His promises are written on our hearts.
In Psalm 91 it promises that He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. It goes on to say His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness. … no plague will come near your tent.”
I confess, that this year, I have looked under every rock and in every crack for good news, for shelter. You name it, I have sought it out like a wilderness trekker on a gap year. My email inbox, my bank account, sports, my furlough/unemployment check status, return to work date notification, BREAKING NEWS, health/vaccine updates, election results, Covid phase re-opening, travel restrictions lifting, school opening status, Covid19 test results, even ministry. Despite being blessed this year with God’s grace filled provision and protection, none of this is good news that I can fight for, stand on, and find ultimate joy or confidence in. Rather it all points to the One I can.
My wife and I decided to press on, press into His promises, and press through our fear and in hindsight it has been an incredibly fruitful year. Most notably, in our frailty we recognized the need for community, for worship, for connectedness. We returned back to City Central Church to gather and encourage one another and to be encouraged as the writer of Hebrews 10:24 writes, all the more as the day draws nearer.
(Psalm 131)(MSG) God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!
Despite all the noise of 2020, Jesus has cultivated a quiet heart in me. Jesus deemed himself the most important “essential” worker in my life, not me…
Life hasn’t stalled out, perhaps God has stilled us out so we could know him better. (Psalm 46:10) Be still and know that I am God.