Bible Verse: “I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?” (Psalm 121:1)
“I’m so confused.” “Man, its crazy out there.” “I just can’t keep up anymore.” And that was just the news stories from 2019! There was the Brexit fiasco; the horrific refugee migrations to Europe that caused so much hardship and turmoil; the second largest outbreak of the Ebola virus that swept through the Congo; and of course the federal election which resulted in a minority Liberal government being installed in Ottawa.
These are just a select few of the ripples in space/time that caught our attention last year, and we all began looking forward to 2020 with a weary hope and optimism. Surely 2020 would be a better year. It couldn’t possibly be worse, could it? I’m always loath to ask the question, “What else can go wrong?” because you inevitably find out.
It’s a very different world we live in from that of only a year ago. Covid-19 has certainly accelerated global shifts in culture, politics, economics, technology and their impact on our daily lives. For many people, daily life this year has become barely manageable, and it feels like a hopeless situation for many, sucking the life out of them. For millions of ordinary people around the world, mental health issues are on the rise because they feel increasingly helpless and hopeless. Who knows what’s coming next? How on earth do I navigate the way forward? We see some of the same dynamics in many of our own homes as well. So now what? Even the Psalmist asked, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3)
For some years now I have tried to read through the Psalms at least once a year, because in the face of what life brings me, sometimes actually throws at me, I need the unique gift of the Psalms to plant my feet, orient my heart, and lift my eyes. What was true for the Psalmist will always be true: The LORD is the Maker of heaven and earth, He sees everything that’s happening in it, He is able to do anything He wants and He knows what He is doing, charting the course from His beginning to His fulfillment of all things. Not only is He the Maker of everything out there beyond me, not only does He know about everything that’s going on around me, but He is my Maker, too. And so, I lift my eyes to Him.
The Psalms can be read as a prayer book. They are a guide that orients me again and again to the Lord who is in charge; to the Lord who never changes; to the Lord who is always certain; and to the Lord who is always faithful. I let the Psalm prayers inform and transform my own prayer, and I find that God can change how I see the chaos around me, and how I respond to the unsettledness within.
They remind me that the Lord is my keeper. The living God loves me and keeps me. It may be crazy out there, but we can be sure, even now in the midst of all the storms, that, “The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Ps. 121:8). Praise be to our merciful and faithful Father in heaven!
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.