“Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your right hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The Lord will work out His plans for my life – for your faithful love O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalm 138:7-8, NLT
3rd Sunday-When You Are Drowning!
One of the most alarming platitudes that finds its way into the church, is that all of our troubles and adversities are ordered by God. It is a shallow faith at best, and a distorted one at worst, that posits the view that God brings about calamity to correct the faithful. We humans, and Christians, live in an imperfect world, that is subject to pain, pandemic, economic uncertainty, and upheaval. A stern warning was shared recently in one of our denominational publications, The Christian Citizen. In an article titled, Pandemic and Platitudes, the Reverend Dr. Cassandra Carkuff Williams said, “The coronavirus pandemic pulled back the veil of our cliché-ridden faith and reminded us of what most of the real world knows: life is hard, circumstances are unjust, and simplistic religion is valueless.” The further point that Dr. Williams makes is that instead of assigning everything to God, we need to understand that God is not the cause of anything that happens. Th text in Palm 138 bears this truth. The psalmist, likely David, reflects on the most difficult period of his life. He sought answers to the dilemma that confronted him. He now despairs of using any platitudes: ‘God is allowing this to get our attention; ‘There is some good in this;” “It’s ok, it will pass over.” NO, the psalmist, exhausted from cliches, affirms the one truth he knows. Although, he said, my enemies have surrounded me, surely there is One who will not abandon me. Note, the psalmist does not blame God for his predicament. He does not perceive his enemies as agents of God to correct him. David sees God, always coming to where he is, and never leaving him alone!