Trusting God during times of trouble can be challenging. Even more challenging, perhaps, is trusting God while in fear of trouble to come. So often, our biggest fears are lived out only in our imaginations, though the impact they have on our physical and psychological well-being is very real. Our thoughts, if we allow them to become our center, can bring us true suffering. With so much evidence of pain all around us, it is no wonder that we often live our lives bracing ourselves for the worst.
Can I trust in God as the psalmist seems to in these verses? Can I have that type of faith? Can God truly become my rock and center?
What if instead of reading this psalm as a call to trust that God will be there for us, we read it line by line as a call to notice the ways God’s grace has already been present throughout our lives?
When has God been my refuge? How has God been my rock and my fortress during times of trouble? How am I experiencing God’s sustaining love today, right in this moment?
The psalmist points us toward a hope, a sustainer, a love that accompanies us through the worst parts of our lives—betrayal, persecution, suffering, and death.
We can notice and savor the times in our lives when we have experienced God’s grace and can let those moments soak into our bones. In this way, we will know that God is trustworthy—not because we believe it with our minds but because we have experienced it for ourselves.
Lord, it can be hard for me to trust in your sustaining love. Fear, anxiety, and doubt keep me in a loop of worry, tension, and despair. Help me to see all the ways you have already loved me, carried me, and been there for me. Help me to notice how your grace and love are present even now. Help me to let you love me through my fears. Amen.
The first three readings for the week contain variations on the imagery of stones or rocks. In Acts, Stephen is killed as the first Christian martyr by being stoned to death, while Saul (Paul) stands by and approves. The psalmist proclaims his confidence in the Lord, whom he describes as his rock and fortress. Peter tells the believers that they have become living stones in the household of God because of their connection to the chief Cornerstone, Christ. In John, Jesus makes an explicit claim to being the only way to God. In our current cultural context, many wonder about the spiritual status of followers of other religions. Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 invites us to deep reflection on this important question.
Read Acts 7:55-60. Recall a time when you have seen God’s power in action. How was God’s power different than you might have expected?
Read Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16. Contemplate your answers to the author’s questions. How do the psalmist’s hope and experiences reflect your own?
Read 1 Peter 2:2-10. When have you experienced God as a loving Mother? When has Christ been your cornerstone?
Read John 14:1-14. How do you experience God’s presence through the life or actions of others?
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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