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Marvelous kindness

Blessed be the Lord,
For he has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
For I said in my haste,
"I am cut off from before Your eyes";
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried out to you.

Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
Be of good courage,
And he shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

—Psalm 31:21-24


Hard to know what to write. The past thirty-six hours have been full of personal tumult and God's faithfulness. In my former profession, I was a bit of a crisis junkie. This trait is a carryover from some of my personal history. In crisis, there exists a sense of urgency, direction, purpose, meaning. All too often, the mundane, normal world lacks these qualities for me. Professionally, I was known in crisis situations for having a cool head, clear priorities, a compassionate demeanor, and the ability to make the hard decisions. It served me well.

But some things strike too close to home. Ironically, sometimes they are also far from home.

When my objectivity is zero and my proximity is distant, crisis is far more difficult for me to deal with. At Sunday's congregational meeting, I exhorted my fellow members regarding our imaginations. In this world, there is much we don't know, and our information-overloaded culture makes those gaps all the more stark. Ultimately, our imaginations come into play— it's how we are designed. We can fill in the blanks with fear (which leads to defensiveness, gossip, division, and sin), or we can fill them with God (which leads to faith, hope, love, and freedom).

Good words. Strong words. True words. Easier to say than to believe.

Pressed to the wall days later, my instinct was to act, to do something, anything. Thankfully, God drew me to Himself in prayer, even if those prayers were scattered, desperate gasps. Through fellowship, He led me to Psalm 31, both to share and to ground me. And He worked mightily for good, being where I could not be and doing what I could not do.

I was still afraid. The whole time.

This was a battle, not only of flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities of this dark world. It was an introductory lesson in what it means to take every thought captive for Christ. What I had in me wasn't enough. I say this with joy, because it is in my emptiness that the Spirit can fill, in my weakness that He is strong.

This was a battle. More are coming. This is a war.

My deep sense of gratitude and relief is in no way lessened by my sense of what may lie ahead. He has been faithful and will continue to be so. Victory has been purchased, is being realized, and will be complete. Yet even in the cosmic drama, He is at work in my strange, small life. More than this, He is sovereign over it, and working in it in love.

Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Comments

amen to that!
Amen!