Summary: Perhaps you have had more than your fair share of grief and trouble and my heart goes out to you. I wish I could share some of your load. But keep the faith and keep pressing on and be comforted because through Christ’s resurrection and triumph over evi
When I looked at the readings for this Sunday, especially Psalm 46, I said to myself, it ties in so well with what is happening to us today. As a Country, we are in two wars with prospects of one or two more; we’ve had the worst natural disasters – Katrina, mudslides, flooding in Tennessee, Oil spill and of course the recession and spiraling unemployment; Some States are bankfupt and so are many small towns – the list goes on. This morning I am not going to get into any of these except of how it effects you personally and the providence of God in all of this.
I believe that we are living in a very momentous time in history. We are also living at a very uncertain time and by that I mean there is a general sense of instability and insecurity that we all face in this life. Many of us are living from paycheck to paycheck praying that we will be able to pay each month’s bills. Many people do not have medical insurance or perhaps not enough and hoping they do not get sick. Others are living without the security of a loving home and the list goes on. Our Government has let us down badly too. We can’t trust them anymore but in the midst of all of these uncertainties, the good news is that we will not be here forever. The earth is not our final destination and God is still on the throne.
This morning I want to use our reading from Psalm 46 and do a short meditation on learning to trust God in difficult times. The Psalm encourages to put our hope and trust in God; To trust in his power, providence, and gracious presence in the worst of times. God is just not our help in ages past but He is also our hope for years to come. He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in times of trouble. There is a beautiful old Baptist hymn entitled “The Solid Rock” in which the chorus goes like this On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…”. Everything that we have learned to trust in is falling apart like sinking sand. Two days ago I heard on TV and that over 40% of Americans have dug into their retirement plans or 401K’s.
There is a story about a woman who returned home from a shopping spree. Her husband met her at the door and said “What did you buy? With the prices as high as they are, I bet you spent a fortune. I hate to think what has happened to our nest egg”. “I will tell you what happened to our nest egg” his wife said defensively as she began to put her packages on the dining table “The old hen got tired of sitting on it”.
Friend, I don’t know if you have a nest egg or not, but even if you do with the mess we are in, it wouldn’t last too long. Verse 2 of Psalm talks about the earth being moved and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea, The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. He is our rock and I hope you are standing on Him because all else is sinking sand. One Preacher put it this way. He said, “Soon the things of this world will pass away and the only things that will last forever are the things of Christ”.
There is a beautiful book entitled “The Wounded Heart of God” written by Andrew Park in which he suggests that God is intricately involved with human suffering and tragedy. When trouble comes to us we are quick to question God’s role and his ability to protect the faithful but not everyone understands that it is only because of God’s impartial love for the righteous as well as the sinner that we suffer equally. If one group had to suffer and not the other, then we would be worshipping an unjust God. Sickness, death and brokenness of whatever form they may come are a product of sin and evil and we have chosen that path through Adam and Eve. May be you are saying, I wish Adam and Eve did not do such and such, but what about you and me my friends? We are no better and therefore while we receive what is called “the wages of sin” we should rejoice and be thankful because we have a God who is still standing beside us. He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Andrew Park suggests that God is not a spectator of suffering but that he actually partakes in suffering with us. When your heart is broken so is His. When you are sorrowful so is He. When someone offends you, he is offended too. When you are hungry and sick, he suffers with you. Jesus ended his earthly life by carrying a cross which clearly represents his willing participation in our suffering.