December 24, 2021 Carol Brennan King
First, we have had our vaccine shots, all three of them. Secondly, the news is full of notes about how this thing, this virus, is way worse for those who have underlying conditions, like respiratory or autoimmune disorders, and more. But those two affect my family.
So how do we deal with that, how do I deal with that as a person of faith? The danger that we live in?
By that I mean, a person who believes the message of the Bible. Let me explain that in a nutshell: humans sin. Sin offends God, and comes at a cost. BUT God! He sent His Son to pay that price, redeeming us through taking on Himself that cost. Redeeming, remember some of you, redeeming Green Stamps or points at the grocery store. Those acts of redemption brought you something you did not have to pay for.
That, I believe is what Jesus did when he died on the cross, redeemed us from sin’s price, and I believe He rose, showing that God had accepted that redemption, Christ’s death, paying our sin debt.
SO HOW DOES THAT FIT WITH COVID?
Covid still stinks, even if you know the death of a loved one who is a person who believes what I wrote above is just the door to eternity in heaven, that they pass from this life into the presence of a loving God.
Loss still hurts, less perhaps than it might for someone who does not have a shared faith with the person who has passed from this life to the next or a person who is suffering. But it still hurts. So where am I going with this?
That same God loves us and is engaged with us right now, caring for us and our pain. And this is what He did for me in the last week.
In my Through the Bible Reading plan, this last week I read the last few Psalms. I am so thankful that God knew I would be there when I needed these psalms.
Psalm 143 is a beautiful model of how to pray when you just don’t know how to; you are hurting or confused or just too tired to think. You can look below to find a copy of this psalm. But for me, all I could think of as I read it, was “Wow, God, you nailed it. You knew what I needed tonight.”
Now because this is getting long, I want to tell you about the psalm I read last night: Psalm 147. Again, I am enclosing it below. Just as Psalm 143 helped me to know how to pray to God right now, how to ask
for what I needed, how to be honest with God like David was, Psalm 147 is a beautiful Psalm about God from King David’s perspective. And it helps us to get a look into how BIG and AMAZING and LOVING and KIND our God is.
Those two psalms reminded me of just Who I believe in. It reminds me of His character and love for me. And honestly, I feel better. I was letting all of the possibilities of covid and the restrictions of living a wise life get to me. But I have been lovingly reminded that with God’s loving care, no matter how it turns out, it will ultimately be OK. I am not saying I will be happy to lose someone I love. Nor that it will be easy to process the kind of pain covid might bring. But I do not have to do it alone or in fear.
I love it that God preserved these two songs/psalms that King David wrote thousands of years ago and brought it to me just now. God did that, so I/we could hear from another human being, a former shepherd an ordinary human, to speak to us such beautiful and comforting words. And words I think David learned through his own suffering. But that is another story for another day.
I pray you find the comfort and beauty I found in these two psalms this week
These two psalms are in the ESV here – a version a little easier to understand for some than the King James Version.
Psalm 143 A Psalm of David.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.
147 Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant,[a] and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the humble;[b] he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules[c] to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules.[d]
Praise the Lord!
- Psalm 147:1 Or for he is beautiful
- Psalm 147:6 Or afflicted
- Psalm 147:19 Or and just decrees
- Psalm 147:20 Or his just decrees