S (Scripture): Psalm 102
8 All day long my enemies taunt me; those who mock me use my name in their curses.
9 For I eat ashes as if they were bread, and mix my drink with my tears,
10 because of your anger and raging fury. Indeed, you pick me up and throw me away.
11 My days are coming to an end, and I am withered like grass.
O (Observation): The “you” referred to in this psalm is God. This is a time in the life of Israel when they considered the source of the good and the bad as God. If God is one, then who else is there to cause the pain? Or the joy? No one but God alone.
This psalm also likely came at a time when the Israelties were living in exile, a time when the neighboring countries conquered Israel for a time. At that time, with a focus on Temple worship (the only true worship occurring in the Temple), the people felt that perhaps God was not present with them in exile.
God’s people in exile lamented, like in this psalm. But a new day was dawning. God would deliver them over time, and one day, the King of Kings would set things right.
A (Application): Ever had something in your life worked out so well, only to have it turned upside down? We are creatures of habit on a big and small scale.
I remember moving from New Jersey to Georgia when I was about 11. My world was turned upside-down. My patterns erupted. I said goodbye to friends and familiar places.
As we moved, we sensed the dawning of a new day. We connected with a local church (All Saints Lutheran Church, Lilburn, GA). And as we got involved with church and sports and community activities, we started to thrive. My family and I eventually developed new patterns, new friends, and started to discover that God had been with us the whole time.
We often see God walking with us through a pattern of orientation, disorientation, and new orientation. As we settle into patterns, we no sooner find ourselves bumping up against changes and challenges. I pray that we have the patience and faith to allow God time space to give us a new orientation towards something new.
In our transition to Georgia (a new orientation) my brothers and I all eventually met our wonderful spouses and with them have had wonderful children. Georgia Tech. Church camps. Seminary. Ordination. Embracing the new orientation (even though it was difficult for a season) allowed new possibilities for us.
Can you name the times in your life that fit into these 3 categories of
- New Orientation?
P (Prayer): Lord, you journey with us in orientation, disorientation, and new orientation. Remind us of your presence. Amen.