Still searching for comfort
Last week I wrote about finding comfort in God. It sounds “spiritual”. It sounds “Christian-y”. But is it possible? In this up-side-down, hyper-political, messed up world we live in – life can feel overwhelming, even too big for God to step in and fix. Every day, we get more than our fill of discouraging news from around the world.
It’s not only us modern-day believers who look at the state of the world and struggle with God’s apparent…(dare we say it out loud?) ...absence? …lack of involvement? …delay of justice?
We saw last week that Paul counseled the Corinthian believers regarding God’s involvement in their afflictions. But we can go further back and still see similar questions being asked of God. When the psalmist who wrote Psalm 94 looked around at the state of the world and how his fellow Israelites were treated, he had this to say:
Lord, how long will the wicked – how long will the wicked celebrate?
They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.
Lord, they crush your people; they oppress your heritage.
They kill the widow and the resident alien and murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob doesn’t pay attention.”
What he sees seems a lot like what we see – wickedness and arrogance ruled the day. People selfishly acting as if God doesn’t notice or doesn’t exist. Although he doesn’t see an immediate end to the state of affairs, the psalmist knows where to find some measure of relief…and he still believes, that at some future point, God will come through for Israel:
Lord, how happy is anyone you discipline and teach from your law
to give him relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked.
The Lord will not leave his people or abandon his heritage,
for the administration of justice will again be righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.
And while looking forward to a God-fixed future can provide some measure of hope, he didn’t end the psalm there. The next part of the psalm is what caught my attention:
Who stands up for me against the wicked?
Who takes a stand for me against evildoers?
The emphasis is personal now – Who stands up for me…Who takes a stand for me? The psalmist knows that rescue and justice and right-ness are all coming at some point, but what about me: right-here, right-now, in all the mess I’m living with?
If the Lord had not been my helper, I would soon rest in the silence of death.
If I say, “My foot is slipping,” your faithful love will support me, Lord.
When I am filled with cares, your comfort brings me joy.
Earlier, the psalmist acknowledged that God’s discipline and teaching from the law gave him relief from troubled times. Now, the psalmist affirms that if not for the Lord’s help, he would be overcome by the wicked and evil present around him.
Lastly, we can all identify with the feeling of being filled with cares. We even have phrases to describe this – When it rains, it pours | Bad things come in threes | That was the straw the broke the camel’s back. But the psalmist has shown us that it is the culmination of God’s discipline, teaching from the Scripture, and trustworthy help that brings us supernatural comfort and joy.
God will fix it all in the future, but He hasn’t abandoned us. He hasn’t left us to go at it on our own until the time He finally brings justice to the world. His comfort is here for us now.