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?
There is a sign in the Marlborough Arms pub in my town (which can also be found in many other pubs) that simply says “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Now, the sign raises some important theological questions about beer. But the biggest question is “Does God want us to be happy?”. One of the team at my church asked me this a couple of weeks ago, to ensure that she wasn’t spreading heresy with the children she was teaching. I said “Yes”. But was I correct?
Psalm 85 helps us to understand:
1 You, Lord, showed favour to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants – but let them not turn to folly. 9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
The psalm is first of all a prayer of repentance and for restoration. Forgive our sin and restore us. This is a very good thing for you and I to pray every day – and particularly when we know that we have failed or messed up.
But, and it’s a big but. The psalm then goes on to describe a beautiful picture of what God’s answer to this prayer for restoration might be:
10 Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. 12 The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. 13 Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.
This sounds like happiness. And it is.
The happiness it describes may not be the same as that provided by beer (which can have side-effects!). It is a defined happiness. Here are the words that are used:
This is happiness. Living with God and knowing his restoration of our rubbish leads to love, faithfulness, righteousness (godly living), peace, good & a harvest [maybe this is where the beer comes in].
God wants us to be happy. And He defines what happiness is in a wonderful way.
May you be blessed/happy today. Love Matt