August 23, 2019
Scripture: Psalm 28:6-7
Bless the LORD because he has listened to my request for mercy! The LORD is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts him. I was helped, my heart rejoiced, and I thank him with my song.
Thought for the Day: It is beautiful poetry, and I can almost imagine the song of thanksgiving echoing the beauty of these prose. Though let me follow with a tough question – does God act like a shield against all that is bad? Does God act as a shield only for the righteous people? Is there some other matrix by which God determines whether someone is shield-worthy? I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of moments in which I did not get the shield. And even more troubling are all the awe-inspiring people of faith who had absolutely no protection from the hate and violence of this world. So how do we join the choir in singing of God as both our strength and our shield? Years ago, I heard a minister from Venezuela who had been badly beaten a few weeks earlier by some young people who robbed the church. His take was that God “defended” (though he could have used shielded) his faith from doubt and indecision. Those events could have had him questioning God’s love, but even as they beat him over and over again, he knew that God was with him. It was one of those powerful testimonies that will forever stay with me. And when you think about all the other main characters in the Christian Scriptures, including Mary and Jesus, Paul and Lydia, their lives were not perfect. Yet their faith appeared shielded from everything that sought to rob them of this life-giving connection.
Prayer: For your grace, Great God, that holds me together when everything else is falling apart, I give thanks! I do not request an easy life, and I do not pretend that I can ask for a pain-free life. But the request I make is for a life with you. Amen.
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