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?
It’s the fatal question – “Oh, I didn’t know you were into [insert hobby here], tell me about it.”. And they are off. At last, they have found someone who has asked about their obsession with alpine plants/obscure science fiction writers/ unusual classic cars/ baking cakes/ collecting stamps from WW1/ village cricket ……. or whatever it is. You are often then trapped as they get that rare moment to pour out years of nerd-iness.
But rather than asking us round to look at their fascinating model railway – the songwriter of Psalm 66 says this:
5 Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!
And then again:
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.
And he [I’m guessing he’s a he – but it doesn’t say] starts to go on. Firstly he goes on about what God did for Israel. In particular (and you see this a lot in the Psalms, and elsewhere in the Old Testament) he tells the story of Exodus – of Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. But then he makes it more personal. He describes how God has answered his prayers, and hasn’t rejected him:
17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. 20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
God has listened, has forgiven, had answered and has given His love. It is an amazing little list.
For any of us who have walked with God for any time, we will have a story. A story of what God has done, of how he has answered prayer, of how he has held us through difficulty and of how he has used us to bless others. As I look back on my 30 years as a Christian – I have so many stories – it is amazing.
So when I feel bad – when I am not encouraged – I need to do what this Psalm does, and look back “See what God has done!”. I will then be encouraged to praise. But I will then also be inclined to tell that story to others. So even if I do have an encyclopaedic knowledge of every episode of Friends or can tell you how to make your own elaborate kites – I can get excited about telling you the story of what God has done – for me, and for those around me.
May God help us all today. Love Matt