Anchor Sunday School Class
by Bob Marsh
Psalm for the Virus
Yesterday Myra and I were on the second to last Delta flight out of Colombia, SA, and were praising the Lord for obvious manifestations of His guidance and protection. We had not been gripped by the enormous implications of this deadly virus until we landed in Atlanta, and now we are aware of how terrifying this must be to literally millions of our fellow citizens. We personally know small business owners and workers in those businesses who may suffer greatly. When events such as the FINAL FOUR, scheduled to be held down the street, is cancelled, plus of all things cancellation of the MASTERS, one becomes smothered in the reality that “this is really serious!!!”
So, what is the response of the Christian Community? Well, we know of the cancellations abounding, which impact Myra and me personally. But, what is our response, or reaction, or message during this time of crisis? This is not a time for pious pontifications, nor should we strive to sing “Cheer up ye saints of God there’s nothing to worry about,” when in reality there is plenty “to worry about.” It depends on what will we do with “the worry.” Myra and I are finding that rather than becoming absorbed in “the latest news,” it helps us to embrace scriptures such as Philippians 4, being cautious not to become “spiritually Pollyannaish,” and strive to balance “what is real” with “rejoice in the Lord always.”
This is where, among many others, Psalm 73 comes in. In vs 1, the Psalmist makes a faith statement: “Surely God is good to His people.”
The emphasis is on the word GOOD. That Hebrew term is a challenge to adequately translate into English. Among the meanings we are told that God (1) knows us personally, (2) cares about us personally, (3) and has given us personal promises to encourage us. Behind all the vicissitudes of life is a God who is personally interested in us!!! Do not let that fact become another “O HUM” in our response to “great and mighty things He has said.”
Vs 2 begins with that ubiquitous BUT, HOWEVER! “I knew how to talk spiritually, but truth be known, I was not sure about my spiritual talk.” “My feet were slipping.” Look at vs 2-14. These are the words of a believer who is experiencing DARK HOURS OF THE SOUL. He is battling envy, fear, and abject DISCOURAGEMENT. Circumstances are overwhelming him. His discouragement and frustrations with circumstances become so severe that in vs 13 he virtually shouts “what’s the use in trusting God?” Discouragement and darkness surround him because of critical circumstances. Sound familiar?
He is not oblivious to the maniacal circumstances. He struggles with reality that tilts toward mournful expressions. He looks around, and circumstances exacerbate the darkness of his soul. Vs 23 begins with another HOWEVER, YET. This NEVERTHELESS focuses on the PROMISES OF GOD. Look at vs 23 “I am always with you!” Tag that with Romans 8:37-39, NOTHING SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD. When I read vs 23-26 I realize that this FELLOW STRUGLER has shifted his focus from Circumstances to THE PRESENCE AND PROMISES OF GOD, and has “MADE THE SOVEREIGN LORD MY REFUGE, vs 28.”
As we travel through life, it is imperative that we grasp what God has promised, hold tightly to those promises, and cling to the promise that in all circumstances of life, “GOD IS THE STRENGTH OF MY HEART.”
GOD HAS NOT PROMISED SKIES ALWAYS BLUE, FLOWER STREWN PATHWAYS ALL OF LIFE THROUGH,
HE HAS NOT PROMISED PEACE WITHOUT PAIN, JOY WITHOUT SORROW, SUN WITHOUT RAIN.
BUT GOD HAS PROMISED STRENGTH FOR THE DAY, REST FOR THE LABOR, LIGHT FOR THE WAY. GOD HAS PROMISED GRACE FOR OUR TRIALS, HELP FROM ABOVE, UNFAILING KINDNESS, UNENDING LOVE.