From Where Will My Help Come? A Reflection on Psalm 119

Pastor's Word from October 2020 Newsletter

by Rob Jackson on March 06, 2021

I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121 has been on my mind a lot lately.  It is one of my “go to” psalms for liturgies for funerals, but this time I am not preparing for a funeral. I am taking a good look inward.  I would like to invite you on this journey, too.

We have now been in the pandemic so long that certain phrases have become standard in our conversation.  Are these phrases commonplace in your conversations or the things you read?

In these times…  X is different in 2020…  X…has been cancelled this year

Perception opinion on the matter is divided along party lines.

…separated   …isolated…   confusion…    angry…   question…   exhausted…

who will receive aid…when we return to normal…

will not be what/when we think it will be.

What will be our help?  Certainly, we have some hope in a vaccine, though the timetable for its availability, effectiveness, and to what level the people participate in becoming vaccinated.  We have some hope in our safety measures.  There is great evidence that our masks are slowing the spread of the disease and protecting the vulnerable. But, as projections for distribution for most of us are consistently falling in the late spring/summer timeframe, the thought of enduring this pandemic is exhausting.  And, as I talk to many of you, you are exhausted within your spirit.  I should say, we are exhausted in our spirit.  From where will our help come?  Psalm 121 says that if we lift our eyes, it comes from the Lord.  But what if you feel dry inside?  What if God’s presence is difficult to detect? What if God seems silent? We keep our eye fixed on the hills and sometimes, honestly, the help does not feel like it is coming.

Some other lines from our psalm also include “The Lord is your keeper” and “The Lord will keep your coming and your going.”  This gives us our first hint.  Though we sometimes do not perceive the Lord, our God is right here in the thick of things.  God is not absent. God is our keeper.  We are kept like something that is precious.

Do you accept that you are precious?  One of the poisons of this season is that we can begin to believe we are not precious.  But our God has claimed you, adopted you and has promised not to abandon you.  If you are not perceiving God in the way that you are looking for God, maybe it is time to try a different way.  Shake it up. Want some ideas? Talk to me. Call me. Email me. Facebook messenger me.  (But don’t Snapchat or tiktok me. I am not there). Whatever you do, do not give up. Do not isolate yourself. Do not let your spiritual frustrations convert to anger against the world. Our God has not given up on you.  Just look up.  And, if you do not see your help in those hills…maybe it is time to look around for the surprising way God is trying to get your attention that you do not expect. Stay faithful, friends. And, remember that our God is faithful to you…always…

Grace and Peace,

Rob

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