But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
Psalm 31:14-15a (NRSVCE)
I occasionally have people who ask me how on earth I write these posts every morning, how I come up with my ideas. I confess, there are mornings when I sit with the text a long time, read it a couple of times, and then struggle to find anything to think, write, say, or share. Many times I’ve skipped a day of blogging because I say to myself, “Nope. I got nothin’.” More often than not, I read the chapter and consciously do so with an open heart. As I read I’m mindful of what the text makes me think about, what memories it conjures, what it means for me on this day of my journey right where I’m and what I’m going through, what other stories or texts within the Great Story it makes me think about, and what teachings or events in Jesus’ story dovetail with it. Many times I just start writing about that one thing that came to mind and everything just sort of flows from there.
Then, there are some mornings when I get to the text and certain words leap off the page right into my soul. It’s exactly what I need today.
That’s what happened today.
In the seeming chaos of our world at the moment it’s so easy to get discouraged, anxious, and afraid. Every morning I shake my head at what I’m witnessing around me, what I’m hearing come out of people’s mouths, and the events I watch and read about in the news.
In the lyrics of David’s song, known to us as Psalm 31, David declares his trust in God and then, in faith, says, “My times are in your hand.”
I’ve observed that humans like to think that everything in life should be hunky-dory and if it’s not then there’s a problem. This leads me to want to focus all my attention on the inspirational, Pinterest-worthy words of Jesus that are regularly printed on lots of hokey trinkets, coffee mugs, and decorative plates. However, my continuous journey through the Great Story reminds that the night before Jesus was to be betrayed, arrested, mocked, threatened, unjustly accused, unjustly tried, beaten, whipped, screamed at by mobs, and cruelly executed by having nails driven through his wrists and feet and hung up for hours to die while people hurled insults at Him, he said this to his closest followers:
“But remember the root command: Love one another.
“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.
“When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you.
“In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
Hate. Beatdowns. Difficulties. Jesus said to expect it, and to act with love before, during, and after.
I’ve never seen these words quoted on a coffee mug.
But as a follower of Jesus, I also know that this life, this earthly journey, this world was never what Jesus focused on nor does He want me to focus on it, either…
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
I also know that Jesus spoke often about this Great Story having a scripted end. It’s leading toward a destined conclusion and certain events are yet to come. If I really believe that, then I can take to heart Jesus words to his followers when he told them about the hatred, beat-downs, and difficulties they’d face: “Take heart!”
Or, like David sang: “Trust. My times are in His hands.”
What I’m expected to do is love.
Note: I’m taking a hiatus to love some friends and celebrate the end of summer. Be back in a week or so!