Maybe it’s the Albuterol in my inhaler talking, but it just seems like everywhere I look there is bad news, bad news, and then the always popular bad news followed by a “things are just going to get worse” commentary.
Is it just me?
As I was thinking about all of this and pondering how a counter-cultural Christian should respond, my thoughts wandered to a time when all Jesus seemed to be getting was bad news. The Jews were against Him, His teaching turned from popular to offensive overnight, and then – the kicker – “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).
I have somehow always found solace in the next verse. Jesus, speaking to the Twelve, says “You do not want to leave too, do you?”. It reminds me that Jesus was human. He experienced loneliness and sorrow.
But I love even more the response of Peter in verse 68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It was like Peter almost laughed at Jesus and said “Go? Where are we going to go, exactly?”. But when I thought about it earlier today, I realized that just like Peter, the place I have to go right now is to those same “words of eternal life”. What a gift of God, to have His thoughts recorded for all posterity, available for me to pick up and read whenever I feel overwhelmed.
And so I did it. I picked up my worn-out NIV Bible, a gift from Papa and Sadie in 1987 (I know this because I asked them to sign the front cover for me), and I carried it upstairs to the game room, to read out loud to the boys. I figured, if I can’t get them to be quiet long enough for me to read to myself, I’m going to read it out loud to them!
And because I had no idea what to read, I just started flipping until I found Psalm 63:
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
I thought it was especially appropriate of God to mention the “watches of the night”, since I spent most of last night tossing and turning and thinking I heard rats scratching through the walls. Maybe I’ll be sleeping with my Bible open to Psalm 63 on my nightstand tonight!