I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
- Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)
You may have already worked this out, but these devotionals are written in advance of when you get them. Publishing runs on deadlines the way a church runs on meetings: not always convenient, but they’re how things get done.
I’m writing this devotional on the morning of January 6th (which, for the record, was hours and hours before my deadline), and on the morning of January 6th, all I can think about is whether America will be at war with Iran by the time this devotional is published.
It looks very possible.
I’m old enough to have been an adult and have an adult’s memory of the days leading up to the Iraq War. And more than fear, more than anger, more than hope, more than anything, what I feel is an eerie sense of familiarity, an eerie sense of coming doom. It made the words of the psalm ring hollow when I read them. “I remain confident I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Oh, I remain confident, do I?
I’m not feeling particularly confident at this exact moment.
But then I remember. The psalms were mostly written by people living through times of trouble. The prayers of confidence were authored by a people in turmoil, the prayers of joy penned by those in mourning, the songs of triumph by people beaten down by the world. The psalms were written by people who needed for them to true, who needed confidence, who needed goodness, who needed peace. In other words, they were written for people like you.
Whatever kind of world you woke up in today, I remain confident that the promises of God are still true.
God, help me wait for you. Help me be strong. Help me take heart.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.