We all feel uneasy with the way things are (well, at least I do) both in our personal lives and in our society. We are bewildered by what has been happening in our nation and in the world. We struggle to know, even with the 24/7 barrage of information available to us, what is true and what is false. It is extremely difficult these days to decipher the “facts.” This creates serious problems. There are moments when we feel that irrationality has triumphed over clear thinking. We feel the problems, both personally and collectively, but we do not have the answers. Some of us feel that we have been let down and betrayed. Life hasn’t turned out the way we expected. We fear the worst. No part of the human family is immune from the problems and the difficulties of life, whether personal or societal.
The Bible is helpful to me, as it has been to others in every generation, because it reflects the difficulties of life on almost every page. The people of faith have never lived in a utopia! Almost every Psalm in the Old Testament speaks of the hardships of life. In the New Testament we readily see that faith is maintained not in the absence of problems, but in the midst of them. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Cor. 4:8). Life is never easy, never has been, and never will be! Difficulties abound!
Elton Trueblood reminds us that, “When, in the divine purpose, persons emerged, they brought a host of potential problems into existence, problems which do not appear in a pre-personal world. Stones are not afflicted with envy and covetousness. Clouds may be opaque, but they are never sinful; and they do not engage in the struggle for personal power. The difficulties which we encounter are chiefly those not of nature, but of human nature.”
This morning I am strengthened and encouraged as I read in Psalm 40, “I waited, waited for the Lord, he bent down to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the muddy pit, out of the mire and the clay; he set my foot on a rock and gave me a firm footing; and on my lips he put a new song.” I find it helpful in the midst of difficulties to read again Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.”
|Plaka in Athens, Greece|