By: Sarah Johnson
Readings: Genesis 14:17-24, Philippians 3:17-20; Psalm 27
Over the years I have seen countless directions or challenges of creative ways to use the Bible as a road map for specific areas of life. A common one in my youth group, during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, was to put the name of someone you wanted to date (read: court) in the place of “love” in 1 Corinthians 13 to see if it rang true. Were they patient? Kind? Someone who doesn’t keep a record of wrongs? I file that memory under amusing, but can honestly also see its merit. At first read, my thoughts about Psalm 27 took a detour to songs written from this text that we used to sing in those youth group days, with the lyrics “Whom shall I fear?” and the entirety of “Better is One Day” running through my mind. Then I started to use the 1 Corinthians approach and put my name into the text.
The Lord is the stronghold of Sarah’s life. Though war break out against her, even then, Sarah will be confident. Sarah will make music and sing to the Lord. Sarah will see the goodness of the Lord. Sarah will wait for the Lord.
I reread, asking myself- “Are these statements true?” Do I keep my confidence in the Lord no matter the trials? Am I intentional in seeking them? Am I waiting for their timing?
In uncertain times, patience and trust can be so very difficult. These texts are such a great reminder of the comfort and assurance that are always offered, especially in times of trial.
These passages also reminded me of another challenge from those youth group days: “If you are feeling distant from God, guess who moved.” If we do not have confidence, if we are not waiting, if we are not trusting in the timing and goodness of the Lord, it is not that they have distanced themself from us. The Lord and their promises are available to us at any time. What a wonder that is.
Lord, we are reminded of your steadfastness and your grace. May we draw near to you in times of trial and of triumph and be mindful to trust in your timing. We are grateful for the capacity for resilience you have given us and that while our focus and confidence may waver, you never do. In your holy name we pray. Amen.