Just when it started to look, and feel, like spring, nature threw us a curve, and a lot of ice and snow! Hope your surroundings are all “melted” and your spring flowers are showing again.
Some of the curves in life cause a little frustration and inconvenience, but sometimes the curves are more than just a nuisance. We could become pessimistic doomsayers, like Pooh’s friend Eeyore. We can describe our abodes as “[Your name here]’s Gloomy Place: Rather Boggy and Sad” as did Eeyore. How I view my situations in life, my blessings and failures, my ups and downs, will affect my present and my future.
There are many in the Bible who had such detours, but one stands out to me: King David.
As a young boy, the youngest of the family who was left behind while his brothers went to war, David conquered Goliath. He was called to the King’s side and fought alongside King Saul. But then Saul became jealous and attempted to kill David. He and his men found themselves hiding in caverns to stay alive, and he even had to portray himself as insane to survive when he fled to another country.
After Saul’s death, David’s life began to look up once again. He became king and reigned over God’s people. But then David decided he wanted his neighbor’s wife, which led him into adultery with her, the murder of her husband Uriah, and the birth and death of the son born from that adultery.
But life looked up once again, for many years, until his son Absalom tried, and almost succeeded, to take the throne from David. Once again he fled, this time with his family, hiding from his own son. And once again, circumstances turned around and David was restored to the throne.
David finished his life as the king, secure, and established, and he died in his own bed, with his son Solomon ascending to the throne. Throughout the ups and downs of those years, David took the time to write down his thoughts, his prayers, and his praise to God. In the Psalms we can find guidance for coping with the “down” times as well as the “up.”
How do we respond to these detours from the hopes and plans of our lives? We often sing the chorus, “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after thee.” Psalm 42 begins with this thought, a testimony of faith and commitment to God. Have you ever, after singing this tune, gone to your Bible to read the 42nd psalm? This is not a simple praise song, worshiping God, but a psalm I like to call a “wrestling” song, one in which David wrestled with the situations in his life and the beauty of God’s love and care. David’s song can help us find a way to keep balance in our ups and downs.
1. Determine the foundation of your life. David begins the psalm by declaring what is most important in his life: God’s presence. He says, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” To find balance in our lives we need to establish the fulcrum on which it can find balance, the only unchanging fulcrum—our God.
2. Recognize and be honest about your situation. “My tears have been my food day and night while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” These words reveal David’s honesty about his brokenness and his situation. Too often, when we are struggling with illness, arguments, financial problems, and other such situations, we try to minimize them or ignore them and our feelings. Suppressing our feelings is no way to find healing. David expressed his feelings and even cried. If you need to cry, then cry, but don’t stop there.
3. Remind yourself that you were not always here. David remembers his days in the temple, worshiping God with the others, times of joy and celebration. Sadness and depression overtake us when the balance of our lives shifts over to the low side without remembering the victories and joys we have experienced. Take time to look back and thank God for the good moments, even if that is all you had. A counselor once told me to take a sheet of paper and write the pros and cons of a decision on either side of the sheet. This kind of thinking helps us to recognize that our lows are not all there is to our lives. We had joy before, and so we will again.
4. Once again, having recognized our pain and sorrow, as well as all that God has done for us in the past, express again your firm conviction, even when a solution cannot be seen, that your hope is in God. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (verse 5a).
When the curves in life lead you away from your dreams and hopes, remember that God has a plan for you and for your life. Remember all that God has done for you in the past, and place your present and your future in the hands of a loving, compassionate, and faithful God.
Mary Kay Glunt, Pastor
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church
PS: Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, why not shock your pastor by showing up for Easter worship one week early! Join us and other believers as we emulate those who worshiped Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. Come to church!