Psalms….. There are Psalms that are appropriate for just about every emotion we might be feeling. I am beginning prep for a sermon and one of the lectionary readings is Psalm 47. It is one a praise and thanksgiving! Last time I preached was about doubting Thomas. I preached about not doubting our identity in Christ. Yea, I looked for the positive. It is kind of what I do sometimes, okay, usually.
This sermon is going to be on Ascension Sunday. Warning…. it is going to be an optimistic upbeat sermon, at least it will end that way. Psalm 47 is one of my texts to draw from for that message. It is one of praise. The texts from Luke and Acts assure us of the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers.
The days (and nights) can be tough, perhaps extremely difficult. During the night I was thinking about a friend whose son has suffered a great physical loss, another whose husband’s is in a serious health struggle, another whose loved one is facing uncertainty in marriage, others who have experienced loss, and on and on. God is with us in the darkness. He is the light in the darkness of the world. We do not travel this path alone.
Pollyanna Syndrome…Not Exactly
I’ve been told I make it sound easy to have faith and that I don’t focus on the doubt and times of lament. Well, my hope in Christ has been tested. My faith will be tested over and over again until I meet Jesus face to face. The details need not be shared, at least not here. My friends have heard it. God has heard my questioning, my doubt, my tears. But it is also God who has allowed me to smile again.
Yes, we lament. But, we also are Easter people, people who serve the Resurrected Christ. We are living the promise of eternal life right now, or at least we can be. Let’s focus our minds and hearts on the hope of Christ now. We can be transformed people here and now. No, we do not need to wait until we die to live the eternal life promised. Yes, we will die, but we are raised with Christ. Our eternal life will one day change from life on earth to life eternal with God, but in heaven, no longer on Earth. Am I saying that life on earth is easy? No way. Am I saying faith is easy? No way. Does it mean ignoring the terrible and tragic things that happen? Of course not.
It means, even when it is seems like the dark is so dark that no light will ever penetrate it, there is hope for healing and hope for the future. We may have others who lift us in prayer, hug us through the tears, and even if we do not have a support system, we can call on Jesus in the midst of darkness. Even when we feel lost and alone, we are not. That is faith. If I make that seem easy, I know it isn’t. If I make it seem easy, it may be because every time the darkness has seemed impenetrable, crying out to God has yielded light. It might not be immediate, but the light once again begins to shine.
Waiting and trusting that the light will return, that is faith. Faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of Noah, Isaiah, and Malachi, Peter, James, and Mary, never returns void. If you are in a season of lament, know that God, even if He seems distant, is a real presence in the world and will walk through it with you. You can share your pain and heartache with God. He is a not a distant God. Read the Psalms of lament.
Be comforted in knowing you can give your grief and pain to God at the foot of the cross. Know the light that illuminates the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome His light. Jesus is the light of the world. Praise God through Psalm 47 and many others. Is faith easy? No, but Jesus bids those who are weary to cast their burdens upon him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)