Summary: The Psalmist has faced crisis situations in his life. Through all his troubles God has been with him, heard his prayers, and rescued him. The Psalmist praises the Lord for what God has done and now faces the future with a strong faith, courage and peace.
Psalm 30:1-12 “God’s Healing Power”
As parents we all want to protect our children from threats, problems and harm. However, even if we are the greatest of helicopter parents we are unable to achieve this goal. Our children will encounter difficult times, failure and pain. This will happen not because we failed as parents but because such situations are part of life.
As a pastor, I feel as if I’m the parent of Desert Streams. I never want to have the congregation experience struggles, failure or hardships. I only want us to experience success. I, however, have not been able to keep difficult times away from us. We have experienced daunting struggles as a congregation. These struggles could have been the demise of other congregations, but because of God’s Spirit, our determination and the support of our sister congregations we have survived. We are here today to continue to worship the Lord and share God’s love and grace to those around us.
Our experiences mirror those of the Psalmist as expressed in this Psalm. The Psalmist’s insights have much to teach us as we continue our walk of faith.
BAD THINGS HAPPEN
About twenty years ago a bestselling book was entitled, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. It was a book that attempted to explain why tragedies occur. It did a pretty job addressing the topic. The author, Reb. Herald Kushner basically wrote that bad things happen, don’t blame God, and you probably shouldn’t blame yourself. Kushner surfaced the idea that pain and suffering are a part of life; stuff you can’t escape no matter how close you are to God. We attempted to create a cause/effect relationship to the loose ends of our lives and it simply can’t be done.
We can assume that the Psalmist was a man of God. Yet, bad things happened to the Psalmist. He writes in verse two that, “He cried for help and [God] healed him.” In verse three the Psalmist claims that he was rescued by God from the depths of Sheol. In this Psalm, the writer doesn’t confess that he did something to deserve God’s judgment and punishment. His predicament was something that simply happened. It was a part of life.
I suspect that there isn’t a person among us this morning who hasn’t experience some really crappy stuff that you had no ability to avoid. In a sense you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Knowing that it wasn’t your fault and that it wasn’t God’s judgment didn’t make the situation any better, but you were at least able to eliminate guilt from your list of tormentors.
This is the bad news. Crap happens, so get used to it. But, there is also some good news.
GOD RESCUES US
The Psalmist rejoices that God rescued him. God healed him. God saved him from Sheol. The Lord heard the supplications of the writer and answered them.
As a congregation we celebrate the fact that God heard our prayer and answered us. For twenty months we prayed that the land would sell at a price where we would be able to pay off our debts. We received several “fire sale” offers, then suddenly out of the clear blue we received an offer near our asking price. The Lord heard our prayers and though it took a little time to answer us we are now debt free and we have some money to move forward in the purchase of the Waddell property.
We are all here today. Life may not be perfect, but we are, as they say, “above ground, vertical and breathing.” In one way or another each of us has been through some bad times. We have gone through them, though, and we came come out on the other side. The difficult times that we experienced were not enough to separate us from God’s love. We may have questioned God’s presence occasionally, but upon reflection we realize that God never left our sides, and God was constantly working in the situation.
FAITH FOR TOMORROW
The bad times that we have experienced have had their affect upon us. The Holy Spirit has used them to shape us. Sometimes they purified us. At other times the showed us parts of our lives that were not reflecting the teachings of Jesus and convinced us to change.
Through the bad times our faith has been tested. Our faith has been strengthened, our trust has grown, our commitment has deepened and our love has expanded.
Because of the bad stuff that we have experienced we are able to look to the future with courage and hope. God has proven himself in the past. We are now confident that God will be with us as we step into the future. There’s a song by Bill Gather that goes, “We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future.”