The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
But, and it’s a big but. Apparently I shouldn’t start a sentence with a ‘but’. But I’m going to!
Theses ‘buts’ have become my catchphrase whilst writing these daily reflections. And what encourages me to keep doing it is that our psalm today does exactly the same thing.
Psalm 102 starts with the prayer of someone who is really in distress:
1 Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you. 2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. 3 For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. 4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. 5 In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones.
There are 11 verses of personal agony – physical, emotional and social. The writer is lonely, rejected, physically ill and has a very heavy heart.
This may feel familiar to you.
However, it doesn’t end there. What does the writer do next? Do they offer us one of the optimistic promises that we easily say when someone is having a hard time?
- God won’t let you face more than you can handle
- This too will pass
- There will be light at the end of the tunnel, just keep going
- Every cloud has a silver lining
- God will bring good out of this
No, the writer does something different – and begins with a huge BUT.
12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. 13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favour to her; the appointed time has come. 14 For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity. 15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. 16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. 17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.
The ‘but’ is this – God is enthroned. This is our hope. That God is enthroned and is working. He is bringing his plan, He has not forgotten, He has not been defeated, He has not forgotten.
This does not mean that everything will turn out OK for you or me – it may not. But, and it’s a big but – it means that if we are holding onto Him – then we know that He is King and He is working.
Never forget this.