Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Ultimate Constant

Out somewhere beyond the wilderness, Moses led his flock until he came to the mountain of God.  There he saw the burning bush and heard the voice of the Lord.  After calling out his name, the Lord said to the keeper of sheep, "I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt, I have heard their cry,...and I have come down to deliver them."  (Exodus 3:7-8)  We remember the story, but sometimes forget it was 430 years in the making. (Exodus 12:40)  One can only wonder what took God so long to act.  Surely, some of those enslaved Hebrews who died as slaves must have wondered exactly the same thing before their eyes closed the final time.

Those two questions at the front end of the 10th Psalm caused me to think of this story from Exodus.  "Why, O Lord, do You stand far off?  Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?"  (Psalm 10:1)  The questions also bring to mind more present stories where it seemed that God was gone while I struggled in times of trouble.  Most of us have walked in that overwhelming time of trouble when it seemed so dark that there was no light visible ahead of us to guide and re-direct.  Like the Psalmist there have been those awful moments when we felt alone and separated so far from God that He seemed more like a distant uncaring stranger than a loving heavenly Father.

I must not only confess to the experience of such times, but also confess to what keeps me feeling even more lost in the darkness.  Maybe hindsight provides insight, but in the moment of trouble "rhyme and reason" provides no sense of God's presence.  What I must also confess is that in such times, I focus too much on the trouble and not enough on the Deliverer.  In the 16th verse of that 10th Psalm, the Word points to such  as it says, "The Lord is King forever and ever."  Trouble is always temporal.  The Lord is the Ultimate Constant of the creation and all of eternity.  The Holy One may seem to be in hiding, but is even more present in our darkness than the North Star is present in the darkness above us. 

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