I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: Psalm 139:7-12
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?” (Exodus 17:7)
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 our Affirmation of Faith: “God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.” (United Church of Canada)
They had trouble seeing that there are blessings to be had even in the wilderness times and that our 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.
That, in fact, is what resurrection is all 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 always yes:
In the greatest times and in the tragic times,
in the times of peace and in the times of turmoil,
in the times when our direction seems very clear and in the times when our direction is fuzzy,
in the times when our lives are full of relationships and friends and the times when we feel lonely.
“Abide with Me”
1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
2. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
3. I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
4. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.
5. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster