Tuesday, April 17, 2012

RE: Psalm 31

While at Concordia I had classmates who sometimes felt like they weren't real Christians simply because their faith story was not dramatic. Most of them were baptized as infants, but had heard the exciting testimonies of born again ex-Islamic extremists, recovering alcoholics, and ex-gangsters. They heard the stories of how God had intervened in powerful ways in the lives of extraordinary individuals, and they felt a little jealous because God had only intervened in simple ways in their own short lives. Feeling jealous of the hardships of others is not rational; this is a childish perspective to take on, but I confess that I feel this way myself.
Photo By: Jamesdale10

Psalm 31 evokes this kind of jealousy in me. I am a white, college educated, citizen of the United States of America. If I have suffered at all I have suffered little. I do not know what it is like to see the Lord's love while in a city under siege (31:21), I have never been literally delivered from a pursuing enemy (31:16), I have not known terror on every side (31:13).

When I take a mature look at the psalm I know that it is a blessing to have not experienced the suffering or affliction that the psalmist experienced. I may yet experience it or I may never experience it. That is not important. Our condition, station, and even our experiences are of peripheral importance when we properly focus on the cross. Jesus came so that at the end of days all people might enter a life free of distress, anxiety, or fear. If we suffer we can look to this psalm and know that God is with those who suffer, but even if we don't suffer we can look at this psalm and delight to remember that one man suffered once for all (1 Peter 3:18). Like him we can freely and gladly entrust our lives, our destiny, and our spirits (31:5) to the God that loves us all.

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