Reading the Psalms can be a little depressing. If a Psalm is not lamenting some terrible affliction, it’s talking about how there are enemies at the gates, and in the driveway, and at the Wal-Mart, and just pretty much everywhere. Today’s first Psalm begins, “Have mercy on me, O God, for my enemies are hounding me” (Psalms 56:1). Truth be told, in today’s climate, it can feel that way no matter which side of the political, ethnic, gender, or gender identity spectrum you fall on. Psalm 56 goes on to say, “All day long they damage my cause; their only thought is to do me evil” (Psalms 56:5). Many of us can relate. It can be hard to see the good in the world when you turn on the news and all you see is gun violence, terrorism, political turmoil, natural disasters, disease, and death; and when it seems like those in power care more about lining their pockets, or advancing a particular agenda, than the good of the people as a whole. But there is hope, because every Psalm tells us the same thing – that no matter how bad it gets, God is with us and will help us to overcome.
Somewhere in each Psalm is the message that God is merciful, and will be our help and our safe harbor. However, that help is not quite automatic. If we want God’s help we must ask for it. We must fix our hearts on God and take refuge in him. We must be as faithful to God as he is to us. This can seem like a tall order. Our busy, secular lives sometimes leave little time for God. The season of Lent is a very convenient time to reacquaint ourselves with the goodness of God, by meditating on His word, and on the love of Jesus Christ, who died so that we may live an abundant life in the grace of God. Lent is a time when pathways to love and faith abound; when reading a scripture or a meditation is just a click away. There may be enemies at the gate, but during Lent the fruit of the spirit is lush, abundant, and hanging right there in front of us. It would be a shame not to eat it and be filled.
Readings for Monday, March 13, 2017
Psalm 56 / Psalm 57 / Psalm 58