March 27, 2019 Psalm 27 Rev. Amy Bertschausen
Executive Director, Care and Counseling
Perhaps you know disappointment, or discouragement. Those things are tough and we usually get through them with preserving and encouragement. But Jeremiah is talking about despair.
Despair is a spiritual thing. Depression tends to be emotional/psychological—anxiety too. But despair is that place where we ask the ultimate questions, the big why questions. When we question our very existence and sometimes, maybe often times, we question the existence of God. We come to know, in a painful way, that we (on our own) are not sufficient for this task of living and loving. Jeremiah is asking these BIG WHY questions and he is in despair.
I once had an amazing mentor who gently accused me of being a functional atheist. I was aghast at such a label! “Well,” he said, “you say you believe in God but you act is if everything is up to you.” BAM!! I knew he was exactly right. I was in a place of utter despair because I was failing at something, couldn’t make sense of it, and wondered if I was even a human being, let alone a decent one. WHY? Why had God put me is such a situation only to fail.
It was only in my utter despair that I would come to God for help. It dawned on me that perhaps, just maybe, I could lean on and trust God a teensy weensy bit sooner than after I fell into the pit of despair. This is my life long spiritual learning curve—to stay close enough to God, whether things are going well or down the toilet. Did I say life long? Life long.
So I cling (with my whole and feeble heart) to “The lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” It turns out, I don’t have to visit despair quite as often. But when it is honestly unavoidable, I know I can take shelter in God in the days of trouble.
Thank you, God, for sending people who speak truth to us with love. This lent, help us to seek you in everything ordinary, everything painful, everything lovely and just everything.