Weekly Devotion – 2/2/23

Weekly Devotion with Kim Wu

The world feels heavy right now.  Senseless death, illness, despair, and endless longing for things to get better have left me emotionally fragile.

Lord, have mercy on us today.

On days like this, I am drawn to the Psalms; to the language of both lament and solace.

In Psalm 11, life is chaos for David, as his very life is in danger.  His counselors tell him, “Flee like a bird to the mountains, for look, the wicked bend the bow, they have fitted their arrow to the string, to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.  If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11: 1-3)

In other words, life feels hopeless and everything is falling apart.  There is nothing to do but run for the hills.

David’s response:  “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven.” (Psalm 11:4)

In other words, God is on the throne.  God is in charge.

Life is full of uncertainty, and it often doesn’t make sense to us.  But in these moments when we are overwhelmed with grief for the brokenness of this world, we need to return to what we know.

God is good.  Always good.  God does not change.  And God cares for us.

When we wonder at the events happening in our lives and in the world, we need to resist the urge to feel that God is somehow absent, or not in control, or even not for us.   Underlying those feelings is the belief that we know what is best; that things should go the way we choose them.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33)

It is in our uncertainty and our fear that we most encounter God.  And that is when God moves us to action.  To comfort the afflicted. To be agents of change.

I want to share with you a story from this weekend’s edition of the Washington Post.  A story of hope and goodness.  Maybe you need it as much as I did.

Charles Foreman, after losing his job as a corporate chef during the pandemic, opened an ice cream store in the Petworth area of DC.  Gun violence has been a problem in this area, and Charles was determined to “do something for the community.”

In his ice cream shop, named Everyday Sundae, no one is turned away if they cannot afford to pay for an ice cream.  Last spring, a customer noticed Charles giving a free scoop to a child with no money.  This began spontaneous rounds of giving, with donations made to cover the costs of the free cones, which are also frequently given to seniors and adults going through difficult times.

Everyday Sundae’s community outreach has broadened, with free movie nights, story readings for kids, and clothing drives.  The article concluded with this quote from Charles:  “The little things that you do are the ripple effect on the pond.  It matters.”

I am closing with an excerpt from a blessing written by author Kate Bowler – “A blessing for a beautiful, terrible day.”

God, today both the beautiful and the terrible are so intensely present. help me live here, seeing the whole truth of what is.

blessed are we who walk toward the suffering, bringing what gifts we have, and our sufferings too, whether of illness or loss, grief or betrayal, confusion or powerlessness.

blessed are we who come to You so close that we can whisper our loves, our fears, our unspeakable secrets, all that feels too heavy to carry alone, and all that we wish we could hold onto for longer.

it is the beautiful that tells me what I love, and the terrible that tells me what I never want to lose.

Lord Jesus, may I learn to flourish here, even here! alongside the full reality of this beautiful, terrible day. Amen.”

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