At work in the world is a force of wholeness. It can be unseen and misunderstood, overlooked and discounted. At the heart of the created order resides the heart of the Creator who remains unimpressed by displays of power, unmoved by haste.
Over time human culture has created a split between winners and losers. We laud the skills of strength and speed and associate the qualities of weakness and patience with those who are bound to lose.
The psalmist assures us that God views these qualities differently. Caring for the weak and those who have taken a beating in life is not contrary to being powerful. God’s greatness is in the company of God’s compassion, and both are strengthened by this tension. God manifests power in caring for the needy, those deemed insignificant or uncountable. God knows, names, and tends all of these. Power and compassion create a stronghold as a result of living in tension. The strength of the mighty is built upon the faithfulness of those who have known heartbreak and still stand, still seek, still hope—and still know fear.
The psalmist calls for praise born of hope and reverence. The ability to see what is right in front of us is a survival skill. When given so many pathways to distraction and patterns of becoming numb to heartbreak and tragedy, a life of praise for God is a life lived between what is and what can be. When we bring our imagination and our brokenheartedness to God, we are welcomed to a partnership of wholeness-making. We stand in the company of all those created and cared for by this praiseworthy God.
Praise to you, O God, for creating us to walk together and to care for one another. Show us yourself; quicken us to see our partnership with you in bringing wholeness to all life. Amen.
What is the ultimate source of our strength? All the authors for this week come to the same conclusion: True strength comes from the Lord. Isaiah asks his audience: Who is like God? God never grows weary and provides unfailing strength to those who wait for God. The psalmist praises God as the one who lifts up those who are beaten down. It is not those with human strength who are truly mighty but those empowered by God. In Corinthians, Paul states that he has laid down any form of his own strength so that the gospel may advance. Jesus heals many in Mark as a demonstration of his power over the physical world. Thus, God’s power is not just a metaphor but a reality.
• Read Isaiah 40:21-31. When has your focus on past events or ones yet to come caused an inability to perceive God’s work in the present?
• Read Psalm 147:1-11, 20c. What part of your life bears witness to humanity’s desire for winners and losers? How can you help others see God’s desire for wholeness?
• Read 1 Corinthians 9:16-23. What behaviors are you willing to take on or give up “for the sake of the gospel”?
• Read Mark 1:29-39. What intrigues you about the pattern of concealment and revelation in Jesus’ life that Mark’s Gospel portrays?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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