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?
I’ve not gone on many adventurous journeys. I’ve not climbed Kilimanjaro, or hiked in Peru, or survived for a month in Alaska. But I did once hitchhike from Hemel Hempstead to Prague in Czechoslovakia (as it was then). Dave & I left on Tuesday and arrived on Friday evening. We slept on a ferry, we slept in a lorry and we slept in a bus shelter on the German border. We got lifts from the police, a priest, a young guy with skull pictures on the roof of his car and buy a guy drinking beer and eating a pie with a hunting knife on the autobahn.
But we made it. After two weeks working with churches, it was time to go home. We decided to take the train. The journey home was much easier than the journey there.
Psalm 77 is a journey. (It’s another chiasm for those who have been following this blog). The journey there is much tougher than the journey back.
The first nine verses are the outward trip:
1 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. 3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. 4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
The writer is very low. He can’t sleep. He has cried to God, but there appears to be no answer.
This may be you. Sometimes it has been me.
But, and it’s a big but. Our man Asaph, reaches a point, and decides to go back a different way.
10 Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’
He decides that he will take his mind back to what God has done in the past. He starts to stir up the memories. What did God do for me? What did God do for those in the past? He goes over and over these things.
Nothing has changed. But his mind has focussed elsewhere. He has reminded himself who God is. The journey back is much easier than the journey in.
You and I need to do this. What has God done for us? What prayers has he answered? Hold on to these thoughts at that moment when it feels like you cannot be comforted.
May your journey be strengthed today.