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 guaranteed to get the tears rolling down my face. It’s that moment in the films ‘Willy Wonka/Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’ (either the 1971 or 2005 film versions). Charlie Bucket opens the chocolate bar that contains the Golden Ticket which allows him to go and visit Willy Wonka’s factory. The whole story turns at this moment. It changes everything. Charlie’s whole life is transformed. This is the pivot.
Psalm 74 has a pivot. The moment when it all changes.
The first half of the psalm is full of gloom. Where is God? Our enemies are destroying us.
1 O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smoulder against the sheep of your pasture?
9 We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.
The writer looks at his situation, he looks at Israel and he cries out in despair. Where is God? What is happening? All is lost?
This is OK. If you look at your situation, and you feel despair and wonder where God is – then it’s OK to say so, and to pray so.
But, and a big but. Please don’t stop there. The writer of Psalm 74 reaches the moment when it all changes. The pivot. (It’s technically known as a chiasm). Verse 12 is the moment when he finds the Golden Ticket:
12 But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth.
Did you notice the ‘but’? In the midst of all this despair, he suddenly grasps at this massive truth. That even though there is a lot of disaster – God is the King. He has always been King. And God brings salvation on the earth. Then his prayers start to change. He still knows that things are bad, but now he is praying with the confidence that God is God. That God is still king, and that He will answer prayers.
19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people for ever. Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
So, we need to do the same. We see our situation. We see others’ situations. We see how difficult it is. Then we need to come to God and remind ourselves just how big and powerful he is. Then we can pray with confidence that He hears us, and he will bring salvation.
May you know God’s encouragement today.