Standing on the Promises
“Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.” – Psalm 91: 9 – 10
Psalm 91 is full of amazing promises: “Because you have made the Lord your refuge, no evil shall befall you.” And this one (really good for backpackers) – “no tent scourges!” There’s more: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
These promises are truly stirring. I can hear them set to music. In fact, I have heard them set to music. (Have you ever noticed how some things are totally believable when sung, but if you just hear them said you may want to say, “Wait a minute!”) When I sing these promises of Psalm 91—”No evil shall befall you”—I can latch onto them as deep expressions of trust.
But . . . I don’t think having faith in God and trying to do God’s will mean that nothing bad will ever happen to you or those you love.
On the contrary, I am pretty sure that bad stuff is going to befall every single one of us. That’s just how it is. And another thing—bad stuff happening doesn’t mean it’s because your faith isn’t good enough or strong enough. Sometimes it just happens.
So there’s a problem here. I truly believe in these wild promises that God will take care of us, and I know that bad stuff—stuff way worse than tent scourges—will still happen. I don’t have an easy out on this one. I just think both are true.
Maybe I’m saying, I don’t take the promises of Psalm 91 literally, but I do take them seriously.
I also believe this: if we have some trust in a High and Holy Power and people with whom we share that trust, it makes a really big difference when it comes to how we go through the bad stuff, and whether or not we come out on the other side.
Help me to live this day, this week, this Lent, in wild, illogical trust.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony’s “Weekly Meditation” and “What’s Tony Thinking?” at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.