To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back upon them what they deserve. Since they show no regard for the works of the LORD and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again.
Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
A friend was in a big hurry to get into LA from his mountain home. It had already been a hectic morning and now he was late for an important appointment. He saw the police car as he rounded a corner but had no time to slow down before being summoned to pull over. Frustrated and upset with himself, he proceeded to blow his one chance to talk the patrolman out of writing him a ticket. Finally, out of total disgust with his terrible reaction to the situation, he asked if the officer was born again.
“No,” replied the officer, handing my friend his speeding ticket, “Why do you ask?”
“Good,” my friend huffed, glaring at his ticket, “That means you’re in worse trouble than I am.”
No matter how bad things get, we always have one incredible silver lining. At the end of our worst day ever, we can say with certainty that God still loves us, will use the events of our miserable day to formulate a future blessing for us, and will one day soon snatch us away to eternal bliss. It helps us keep things in perspective.
The unbeliever can’t say that. Even with the reality of his eternal destiny hidden from his eyes, (if he truly understood what was waiting for him he’d be on his knees in a heartbeat) he has no assurance that things will ever improve.
For this reason alone, Christians should be the most positive, enthusiastic, and excited people on the face of the planet. “Blessed are the meek,” Jesus said, “For they shall inherit the Earth.” In researching the word “meek” I stumbled upon my favorite paraphrase of that verse. “Blessed are those who’ve been given everything, for they don’t have to sweat anything.”
Paul was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, falsely accused, unjustly imprisoned, and eventually beheaded for his faith. And yet he could say, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us”.(Romans 8:18) And the early Christians, while being torn apart by voracious animals, burned alive, or tortured in unspeakable ways, rejoiced at being chosen to suffer for the Lord’s sake.
Most of us won’t be called upon to endure such tests. But the next time you feel as if you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, consider another statement of Paul’s. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:17-19) Whatever is happening to you right now is temporary, but the promises you’ve been given are eternal. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. Have a blessed day.