This devotional was penned by Abbie Ladd (The cohort leader from the Capernwray group!)
For many of us, there have been abrupt changes to life as we knew it.
Perhaps like me, you have had good days and bad days in the lockdown. But where do we turn on those days when it all feels too much?
The psalmist clearly understands the feeling of distress yet brings a great example and challenge. It can be so easy to turn to family or friends in times of crisis but the psalmist, in his pain, cries out to God. Instead of reaching for Netflix or Facebook, he chooses to stretch out his hands in prayer as he realizes his need for God.
In January, I chose a verse for the year to help me in my faith:
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Ironically, since the lockdown, I think my vision of Jesus and eternity has become more clouded. At times, my problems have felt bigger than my God. When looking at the world’s brokenness through human eyes it can feel a bit hopeless. But these psalms outline a plan of action on what to do when our souls become overwhelmed.
We see his inner conflict between faith and doubt, that many of us know too well, but the psalmist fights to remember who God really is and the power He had displayed to the people. He reminds himself of the majestic way the Israelites were brought out of Egypt and through the parted Red Sea or split rocks to give them water to drink in the wilderness.
Depending on your age, the name Ebenezer may remind you of the protagonist of a Dickens’s novel or a 90’s dance track but it was first used by Samuel to commemorate the victory God gave to him over the Philistines. “Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” (1 Samuel 7:12).
Others also set up memorial stones as reminders of the great things God had done for them. Jacob set up a pillar to mark the place where he received a dream and a promise from the Lord (Genesis 28:10-22). Joshua commanded 12 stones to be erected as a sign of God’s goodness for future generations - so they would not forget their miraculous journey through the Jordan and into the Promised Land.
On those bad days and in those difficult moments we must choose to seek God and remember the good things he has done. But why let that be a battle of the mind alone? Could we too set up physical reminders of the works of God in our lives? What can we put in place to help us to keep the right perspective?