Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
The Inescapable God
To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
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.
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.
Is the Lord among us or not? God can use even the wilderness experiences because the answer is a resounding “Yes, indeed God is with us in every season, in every place.”
Today our scripture reading from Psalm 139 speaks of the nearness of God: “Where could I go to get away from your spirit? Where could I go to escape your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there. If I went down to the grave, you would be there too! If I could fly on the wings of dawn, stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—even there your hand would guide me; even there your strong hand would hold me tight! If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me,” even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you! Nighttime would shine bright as day, because darkness is the same as light to you!”
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” That was the message that Isaiah had for the people in exile. It is a message for us, too, in our time. (Isaiah 43:5).
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