How do you view your life and the world you live in? Do you see the problems, the suffering, and feel the terribly slow passage of time? Or do you bounce out of bed in the morning greeting the new day with enthusiasm and excitement for what lies ahead – ready to take on new challenges, grab at new opportunities and welcome new adventures?
I suspect most of us are a combination of these two scenarios, but we may lean more towards one outlook rather than the other. It reminds me of this saying by Jose N. Harris: “Some people live in a bitter, angry, hate-filled world. Some people live in a friendly, caring, love-filled world. Same world….”
At first glance, Psalm 90 reads a bit like a horror movie! We read of God sweeping away men in the sleep of death, like dry and withered grass; man being consumed by God’s anger, and finishing our years with a moan.
It is easy when we read it this way to feel daunted and miserable – like we are living in the first world Mr. Harris described above. We feel like this when we experience hard times, or we focus on the suffering and the pain in the world. We cry out, “why me, Lord? When will this end? I can’t endure much more!” Over the past three weeks, I have experienced this – watching my mother who lives with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases battling a crippling chest infection. We found ourselves as a family praying for this suffering to end, asking Him to call her home. For us it felt like a lifetime sitting at her bedside and watching her work so hard for every breath.
But if we look again at this Psalm – especially at the first two verses, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. …from everlasting to everlasting YOU ARE GOD”, the world looks very different. There is positivity, security and a promise there that is so firm and so permanent that we should never be in doubt about His will for our lives.
What God asks of us through this Psalm (and what Moses asked for directly) is to learn to “number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom”(v. 12). We need to take comfort in His promise and take up occupation in His dwelling place, so that we can do what He has planned for us to do on this earth.
When we focus on the positive – Mr. Harris’ second world – we will rejoice and be glad for God’s unfailing love every morning, and we will busy ourselves with “the favour of the Lord our God resting upon us, [as He] establishes the work of our hands” (v. 17)
I have come to realize that my mother’s life – and the lives of all those who seem to suffer needlessly – is firmly in His hands, and I need to focus on the positive, and to rest in His dwelling place.
To think about: Speak God’s everlasting promise into your life every morning, and you will feel that this is a world in which you can sing for joy and be glad all your days.
Written by: Janine Ward(Co-CEO, Jewels of Hope) and Asset-Based Community Development Facilitator and tranined Churches Channels of Hope Facilitator