By Elizabeth Prata
We live in scary times. This isn’t anything new…the ’60s were scary, a civil & societal revolution took place between generations. Plus, there was the Viet Nam war. The 40’s were scary, WWII. The Great Depression and the Great Migration in the decade before that. And before that, the Great Influenza. And so on. Any times we have of peace and prosperity are illusions that exist between the turbulence. It’s the turbulence that’s normal.
Why is this? Man is born to sin, lives on a sinful world, bathes and basks in sin. Christians are removed from this world spiritually because of the work of Jesus on the cross, but that only means as long as we’re hereon earth we see it better with unclouded eyes that have had the scales removed.
While it is hard for unsaved folks to live without hope among the turbulence, it is hard for saved folks to live with such global hatred against the one true Hope that can save them. In other words, life is hard and it will remain that way until we die or are raptured. (John 16:33).
But living through it does mean we tend to have anxiety, fear, doubt; and all the emotions associated with troubling times. We’re human and we get scared. When that happens it should be our practice to immediately go to the Father and seek His face.
Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David comments on every verse of every Psalm. An amazing work, isn’t it! David was one Bible times person who definitely knew about troubling times. He lived them from boyhood through old age it was the mark of his life. What did David do when he was hard pressed, anxious, depressed, sick, fearful? Turn to God.
Here in Psalm 77:11 we see Spurgeon’s comment:
Verse 11; I will remember the works of the Lord. Fly back my soul, away from present turmoil, to the grandeurs of history, the sublime deeds of Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts; for he is the same and is ready even now to defend his servants as in days of yore. Surely I will remember thy wonders of old. Whatever else may glide into oblivion, the marvellous works of the Lord in the ancient days must not be suffered to be forgotten. Memory is a fit handmaid for faith. When faith has its seven years of famine, memory like Joseph in Egypt opens her granaries.
‘Glide into oblivion’, don’t you love Spurgeon’s handle on the English language? In 1986 songstress Janet Jackson had a hit song titled “What Have You Done for me Lately?” In it, she sings of her boyfriend’s initial push for the girl that included romance, flowers, gifts, and attention, that has now faded into taking her for granted.
We humans are often like that with Jesus. We let all that He has done for us fade into oblivion as we demand new and better things from Him. We tend to forget He is to be gazed upon for just who He is, and for what He has done for us one and for all.
If we sit in fear, we have the opportunity at any time to wave away the fear and see it glide into oblivion. We refuse though, sometimes wallowing longer than we should. Looking to the Father and His works and His dwelling place should lift our spirits as we seek His face. Praying, reading the Word, engaging in joyful fellowship with others is at times the last thing we want to do.
When we cried or got upset as kids, sobbing into our pillow, do you remember when Mom or Dad came into the room, touched your shoulder and asked “What’s the matter?” Often we hid our face even further, and it was then they took our chin and deliberately turned our face to theirs. They wanted their child to see the love and concern exuding from their face as they sought to comfort us.
I look at this pandemic time and rioting time and as the time when Jesus is taking American’s Christians’ chin in His hands, and deliberately turning our face to His so we can absorb the love and concern He has for us.
Jesus doesn’t have the solace to give us, He is the solace.
Our pastor preached yesterday from Psalm 27, David again, showing us what to do when looking around is too painful. Note how many times the word ‘face’ appears in just a short time, verses 8-9;
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
If anyone knew what to do when life became too upsetting, it was David. Don’t wait until a pandemic, a riot, a job loss, sickness, injury or death be what causes the Father to turn our chin up to look into His face. Seek Him always. He is the equilibrium we need to remain calm in troubling times. He left the Word behind for us so we could see His face and know His love and concern for us. Let the freshness of your salvation, Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection always be the memory we turn to and see what He has done for us lately. In that memory of the moment He placed the robe of righteousness upon us, there is no slide into oblivion but the Rock of eternal joy.
Below, Collage by EPrata, representing the peace that passes all understanding, when the world is turbulent,His peace grounds us even as we look to the heavens