The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Friday, November 13, 2015

God, help!

Today, November 13, 2015, is a sad in the history of the world. This morning people woke up in Paris thinking going about their business, catching a cup of coffee at a sidewalk café with a friend or a lover, cheering on a soccer team, or taking in a concert. The last thing on the minds of Parisians this morning were any thoughts that their lives would be irrevocably changed by a indescribable reign of violence before nightfall.

For followers of Jesus, these scenes of death and violence are challenging. The Biblical record has given us a model of how to respond to events such as what we are seeing in Paris.

Here is the model provided by the Psalmist in the 13th Psalm:

Introductory cry:

1
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

While our circumstances may not be the same as the citizens of Paris today, we have all said, “How long, Lord?” To cry out, “How long, Lord?” is not a cry of doubt, it is the cry of being human.

Petition:

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

This is a personal call to God to respond to the crisis. Notice the personal pronouns. Those who have a personal relationship with God can make this personal appeal.

Lament:

and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

Do not be surprised that the enemy comes back and beats their chest and  boasts about their terrible deeds. Do not let their words anger you or frustrate you. There is no power in their words. They are empty boasts in the end. They will not have the last word.

Assertion of Confidence:

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

The personal relationship out of which the petition flows now creates the foundation for a word of confidence in God. It is not a matter of the strength of the faith of the follower of Jesus, it is a matter of the character of God. It is God’s love and salvation that is the basis of the believer’s confidence.

Promise to Praise:

I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

In the end the follower of Jesus rejoices in God’s power and character. The goodness of God in the face of adversity is good news. What is the goodness we rejoice in? We know that the deaths of Parisians is not the end of the story. We know that the apparent victory of the evil doers is an empty victory because there is a greater Victor.


Ronald Friesen © 2015

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