Psalm 119:49-56

For many of us COVID19 quarantines are beginning to lift. More people are out and about, some businesses are reopening, and churches are making plans to start modified gatherings for worship. For some people the reopening of society is a relief; for others it represents a new kind of uncertainty. The cultural narrative changes almost every day: wear a mask or not, dine in at a restaurant or not, return to school classrooms or not. When the experts are divided, the opinions of non-experts become battlegrounds for argument, mud-slinging, sweeping generalizations, insults, and fear-mongering. The cultural narrative also infects the Church.

We are human. We fail to consider the impact of our words. We lose patience when we feel like we are not being heard or understood. We lash out in frustration with those who disagree with us. Real life can be aggravating. It’s real enough under normal circumstances, but aggravation seems to be elevated when our communication is limited to social media, text, and the occasional video chat meeting.

When we find ourselves consistently feeling annoyed with other people, it may be time to refocus our attention. The psalmist in this section is in the middle of an affliction, insulted by the indolent, and indignant about the evil he sees. He doesn’t wallow in self-pity or frustration. Instead, he turns to the unchanging promises of God. The Word gives him life and hope, and comfort.

Hope and blessing (joy) are inextricably woven with focusing on the Word of the Father in hard times, uncertain times, and in pleasant times. No circumstance changes God. No wickedness or folly of humankind changes God. God’s unshakable promise gives life when we sing His statutes and keep His precepts. When our focus is right we are able to be kind in our words to each other. We can avoid being part of the uncertainty that induces chaos. We can keep our mouths shut when we should and we can avoid feeling insulted by others. Our source of validation is Jesus. We can be confident that He is the same no matter what is happening on earth. His Word is enough.

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