September 24, 2021
Tacoma United Methodist Church
Psalm 124 (KJV)If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say;
2 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
MEDITATIONWhen my mother passed away a little over four years ago, it seemed that my world would never feel quite right again. She was a devout Christian who never met a stranger and who went out of her way to help everyone who needed her. She was also a pillar of our tiny country church and our equally small community. Everyone who knew her loved her. Though she had lived over 99 years and I was grateful for her long life, I wanted to hang onto her a little longer.
The truth is, though, my family lost my mother in a sense several months before her passing as dementia stole more and more from her and from us with each passing day. The days when she didn’t even know my name hurt the worst. But one thing she didn’t forget was her trust in God. I would often take her to the multipurpose room in the long-term facility where I would play old familiar hymns for her on the piano because they brought both of us such joy.
Imagine my delight the first time she began to sing and didn’t miss a word of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Moments such as this were such a gift to both of us—they brought pleasure to her and they reminded me that God is always beside us, as a friend who sticks closer than a brother, no matter what our situation.
No one gets through life without problems. When sin entered the world, so did all the ills that can befall humanity. Sickness, conflict, natural disasters, death—these are all problems which we will encounter at some point in our lives. The natural human reaction when these things occur is despair, depression, anxiety, fear, and a host of other negative emotions which can drag us down and make us feel as if we will never regain a life worth living.
We see from Psalm 124 that the nation of Israel encountered these same issues thousands of years ago. But David was quick to remind them that though it might be difficult to see beyond their current problems, God was—and is—in control in all circumstances. David enumerates several situations which could cause fear and despair, but he reminds them that God is there. In fact, verse 8 summarizes what our response should be any time we face a situation beyond our control. “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”