I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Psalm 139:7-12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
In Exodus 17, The Israelites have been in the wilderness for several weeks and the people don’t have enough water. They begin to be afraid that they and their cattle will all die of thirst in the wilderness. The people are so thirsty they even begin to wish that they were back in Egypt, even though they were slaves.
What the people of God don’t realize in their thirsty state, however, is that the water they most desperately need is the living water of faith that God provides.
Out of their fear and their longing, they ask a question that gets to the heart of what is going on spiritually for them: “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Have you asked that question or some variation of it? Is God with me? Where is God in all of this?
Now what they had trouble seeing is the good news that we say nearly every Sunday in the affirmation of faith: God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God. They had trouble seeing that there are blessings to be had even in the wilderness times and that the wilderness experiences can make us stronger and help us determine what is most important.
Even in the times of illness, the time when an accident has left us weakened or broken, even in those times that harm us and hurt us, God is present and God can bring good out of the worst of circumstances. In this time of pandemic, God is with us.
That, in fact, is what resurrection is about: out of darkness, God brings light; out of chaos, God brings order; out of wilderness wandering, God brings strength and faith; out of dead ends, God brings new beginnings; and even out of death, God brings resurrection, new life.
Psalm 139 is a powerful expression of the inescapable presence of God that is light in the darkness. It is the psalmist’s answer to that question of the Israelites in the wilderness. Is the Lord among us or not? The answer is yes—in the greatest times, in the tragic times, and in the times of peace and in the times of turmoil and the times when our direction seems very clear and in the times when our direction is fuzzy, the times when our lives are full of relationships and friends, and the times when we feel lonely.
The answer is always Yes, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
There is a lot of theology woven in to hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Abide With Me” by Henry Francis Lyte (1847). I hope you will take a few moments to allow the words of this message and the emotion of this music to connect with your soul.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster