I stopped watching the news last weekend.
In emotional overload, I felt helpless, paralyzed. How could I, a peace-loving person, stop the riots? Stop cities from burning? What has happened to my country? To my city? How can gentle souls overpower mob rule?
I woke this morning, turned to my psalm for the day, and found my answer. At least, Step One of my answer.
In Psalm 57, David begins with a plea. “Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by.”
David’s words are mine. I want safety from this horrible world. And yet it is God’s creation. There is still beauty and wonder.
Look at those two little ones safe under their mother’s wings! That’s where David wanted to be. That’s where I find my comfort and future strength when I’m caught up in weakness and fear.
But David doesn’t find comfort immediately. Check out verse four. “My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire.” The man was terrified for his life on many occasions. I’ve never been in his position, but when I watch people filled with hate wantonly destroy an innocent person’s livelihood, I sense the same fear as David. Such hate has a source way beyond human.
There is righteous anger that desires to fight evil. Then there is demonic anger. A mindless rage. Destroy the guilty. Destroy the innocent. Destruction is pleasure.
David has one hope. Always. So do I. So do you.
“Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth.” (verse 5) He finishes his prayer with the same words.
When I am afraid, this is where I need to turn.
God sees it all. He sees His precious lambs, He sees those whom He would love to have in His flock. Jesus has instructed us to pray for those who shake their fists at Him. God knows who will respond to those prayers. And He knows who won’t.
Once David has reminded himself as to Who is in control, he gains confidence and courage. “My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” (verse 7) For the next couple of verses, his heart lifts higher and higher in all the ways he can praise God.
Here is my answer! Praise Him! Remember who God is. Sing praises!
Remember who is in control. Praise Him!
Remember Who has me safe under His wings! Give thanks!
Reading up through verse 9 was enough to get me singing through my house, ready to find out what the Lord has in store for me today–this blog post being assignment Number One.
Maybe that’s not enough for everyone reading this. Maybe you’re thinking, “If God is so great, why has he allowed all this destruction in the first place? Why doesn’t he just stop people from doing evil things?’
I will offer one short answer: I DON’T KNOW.
Here’s what I DO KNOW: Jesus lived a perfect life. He loved people so much that He sacrificed Himself for us, no matter how much we sinned. He sacrificed Himself for those who throw rocks through windows and set stores on fire. He rose from the dead so that all who gratefully accept His sacrifice may do the same someday.
I don’t understand why He steps in and helps at times and why He allows evil things to happen other times. But I trust His all-sacrificial love. In verse 10, David understood that love, and he didn’t even have the opportunity to know Jesus on earth. “For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds.”
STEP ONE: Praise God. Not only at home in your prayer corner. Share praises with your Christian friends. Share praises with people you know who don’t know Jesus. And if God gives you the opportunity to praise Him in the presence of those who hate Him, in some way He will use your praise for His glory. He’s been using David’s praise songs for three thousand years!
All scriptures quoted are from the New American Standard Bible by the Lockman Foundation (1995).