Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.
They lurk in ambush in the villages,
waiting to murder innocent people.
They are always searching for helpless victims.
Like lions crouched in hiding,
they wait to pounce on the helpless.
Like hunters they capture the helpless
and drag them away in nets.
Their helpless victims are crushed;
they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.
Psalm 10:7-10 (NLT)
God’s Message is not a novel. It is not book to check off your mandatory reading list and then put on a shelf. It is a life-giving guidebook for the journey that grows deeper, richer, more poignant and meaningful the further you travel in life’s journey. I keep reading it and studying it because, while it never changes, I change. The wider my life’s horizon expands with time and experience, the more rich with meaning these chapters become each day.
Even a year ago, today’s chapter would have struck me much differently.
Our daughter, Taylor and her husband, Clayton, have been in Uganda this summer. Taylor is studying Art Therapy, and has been putting her education to work with students and other individuals there. The stories that Taylor has shared on her blog are heart wrenching. The area they are working is the site of some of the worst terror carried out by a group calling themselves the Lord’s Resistance Army.
As I read Psalm 10 this morning, the mental images of the first hand accounts Taylor and Clayton have heard this summer flashed into my mind. The description of the wicked lying in wait like lions ready to pounce on innocent victims could not be a more apt parallel to the stories Taylor has related from the victims of the LRA:
Jackie and her father (who died) were abducted when she was 12 years old. She was given to a soldier to be his wife. She gave birth to a child in the bush. She drew a picture of herself climbing up mountains with a baby on her back. She and her husband escaped and lived together for a while but he left her and the baby, so now she lives with her mother. She leaves her mother’s house at 6 in the morning and bikes to work, which is a 3-4 hour commute each way!
Todays chapter leave me thinking about evil and how it does not change from generation to generation. It’s a nice idea to believe humanistic epithets and pop music lyrics that we will all just get along and live in peace and harmony if we just give peace a chance with a little love in our heart. Yet I’ve yet to find one of these lyrical, idealistic notions that adequately addresses and solves the presence and reality of evil in the human heart and, by extension, in the world at large.
Today I feel like my thoughts are swirling all over the place. I’m thankful for the fact that when my children were young I taught them, but then as they get older they teach me through their own lives, knowledge and experiences. I’m thankful that God’s Message is living and active and constantly meeting me where I happen to be on life’s road. I’m thinking about LRA, terrorism, and evil. My heart is crying out with the Psalmist:
Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so mere people can no longer terrify them.