ADULTS: This is a Pastor-Ed-devotion like any day, but for a season, you might like to adopt this suggestion to …
PARENTS: Your kids are home for a few weeks! God wants to redeem this time for your family! Use it to draw your family closer to God and closer to one another! For Sunday worship this week, we said, “Set a family altar.” Do that again. Attached is a liturgy. For a while, I’ll adopt the daily scriptures in this liturgy for my devotions. Today’s is…
Psalm 43 1 Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars. 2 For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? 3 Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. 4 There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! 5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!
Long ago, probably by some ecumenical committee, this scripture was assigned for today. Should it be a surprise, though, that the theme of today’s Psalm fits so aptly the headlines of today?! Perhaps because of all that’s going on in our world, I’m drawn to the first line in verse 2: “For you are God, my only safe haven.”
Is that your view of God too? That regardless of the size of the storm, you can anchor your weary soul in the safe harbor of God’s abiding peace?
In Matthew 11, Jesus says to each of his followers, “Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Through this invitation, Jesus seeks to draw us into the harbor of his eternal protection. When he says in John 14:27, ““Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. … Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid,” he’s inviting us to anchor our weary, worried hopes in him.
In our world today, there’s a word floating around that is causing a storm. So what’s your reaction when I say, “the coronavirus”?
- For some it’s fear. (This is serious. Either me or a loved one is elderly or has compromised health.)
- For others – and I’ve seen it – it’s a roll of the eyes. (“Does every American really need to freak out and buy a gross of toilet paper?)
- For others it’s a massive inconvenience. (What are we going to do with our kids for the next few weeks as schools are closed?)
- For others there’s growing anxiety. (If things keep shutting down, I may lose my job. How will I keep food on my table and a roof over my head?)
I told you earlier that I like the first line in verse 2 of today’s Psalm – the one about God being our “safe haven.” Verse 2, however, is a shockingly honest and plaintive cry: “[So] why have you tossed me aside?”
Have you ever felt forgotten by the God who is supposed to be your refuge and strength? When a loved one dies? When you lose a job? When your child strays? When a diagnosis hits? When a health crisis or financial disaster looms? Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt forgotten by God? Tossed aside, as into the sea?
This Psalm is honest. And if we’re honest, we’ll confess that sometimes we hate this broken planet. Thankfully, however, for a believer this world is as close as we’ll ever get to hell! Yes, this world can be hellish at times, but part of faith is trusting anyway that there is a safe haven, and his name is “God”!
Read the rest of this short Psalm. How do we anchor ourselves again when we feel tossed aside? There are two sets of steps …
- Analyze the situation: Ask – verse 5 — “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?”
- Go to God with it: saying, verse 4, “I will go to the altar.”
- Ask God the big questions: verse 2, “Why have you tossed me aside?”
Second, while you’re waiting for an answer (and trust me, for a fearful, grief-filled, anxiety-riddled soul, a clear answer may take a while to come) … but while you’re waiting for clarity, do these ___ things:
- Go again to the altar: verse 4, “I will go to the altar of God.”
- Ask to be led by God out of this trial: verse 2, “Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me.”
- Confess the faith you’ve historically had in God in spite of how you’re feeling in the moment: verse 2 – “you are God, my only safe haven.”
- Remember intentionally the hope, light, and joy you’ve had in the past: verse 4, “God—the source of all my joy.”
- Start praising, again whether you feel like it yet or not: verse 4, “I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!”
- Purposefully anchor your wandering, wondering soul in God again: verse 5, “I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!”
In Christ’s Love,
A guy who is purpose-
fully praising and
is not afraid