This week seemed more frustrating to me than usual. Maybe it’s because, I spent more time in several churches that were struggling. It’s difficult to not identify with their pain.
I thought: “Maybe, I won’t write anything today. After all, who needs to read the painful ramblings of someone who experienced a tough few days at the office?”
Then in my Bible reading, I came across this portion of Psalm 73.
Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. (73:21-24)
Yes, I was feeling a little torn up inside, a little foolish and ignorant. But don’t we all at times? Don’t we have weeks and sometimes months where circumstances are tearing at us? Where our actions and answers seem foolish and ignorant?
Then the Psalmist experiences a moment of truth: “I still belong to you. You hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and you lead me to a glorious destiny.”
Sure, it was a difficult week. Sure, there were times I was not at my best. But — I still belong to You. You hold my right hand. You guide me and lead me to a glorious destiny.
After slowing down and saying thank you to God, I began to look at the week again.
Yes, there were painful moments but in the midst of the pain, there is often progress that leads to healing.
Yes, there were painful moments but there were also a few wonderful moments where God was experienced working among us. By dwelling on the pain, I neglected to see and appreciate the encouraging ministry that was also occurring.
For example: “Wow, what an amazing morning we had today at Bethesda UMC. We had 25 children and over 25 adults at our Easter Egg Hunt this morning. Bethesda does not have any small children in our congregation. We have a good youth group and two or three in middle school. No toddlers or elementary age children. There were people in the community that came and were excited to be there. Everyone had a great time and they have been invited to come again! We will begin to plan Bible school for the summer and if all goes well with the new building we are going to try to start an after school program in the fall. I honestly did not know what to expect this morning, but with God all things are possible!!” Rev. Sue Keen
Yes, there were painful moments but God was teaching valuable lessons, if I would only pause long enough to reflect and learn.
Yes, there were painful moments but this Sunday of all Sundays, I should understand. This is Holy Week. It starts with a parade – Palm Sunday – leads to a last supper, a betrayal, an arrest, a trial, three denials, a beating, a humiliating walk down main street carrying a cross, a cruel crucifixion, taunting by the crowd and death.
Yes, there were painful moments but pain is not the whole story, or the story of Christ would end here but it doesn’t. Easter Sunday is coming.
Easter Sunday is coming soon.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Psalm 73 concludes:
Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.
But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. (73:25-28)
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail and my spirit grow weak but God remains the strength of my heart.
He is mine forever.
Do you feel the strength of God’s Holy Spirit in those words?
Here is the key lesson for me this week.
Yes, I experienced painful moments but I will not respond by deserting God so here is the part of Psalm 73 that will guide me to carry on.
“But as for me… how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”
How good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter.
I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.