Reflection of the Week - 5 October 2021

Posted in Faith

Almost everyone can point to a time in life when they were deeply happy. For some, courtship and marriage were those times of joy. For others, high school or college days stand out. Some even point to the birth of children. In hindsight, some events stand out as times to savour.

Then, there are times that are unpleasant. Events can verge on tragic; the burdens of daily life become overwhelming. These are the times we might reminisce in the experiences of our youth, even indulge in melancholy. Then, we might pray for better times ahead.

Why are some times better than others? Why do some yearn for the ‘good old days’ or look forward to the ‘green pastures’ that lie ahead? Isn’t today enough? These are the kind of questions Psalm 4 poses.

It was a prayer of supplication that could be divided into three sections: 1) call for God’s answer (4:1) from the criticism of enemies (4:2), a reminder of God’s power and the need for faith in the Lord (4:3-5), and the popular prayer for better times (4:5) with the caveat that the present can give more joy than any imagined future (4:5-8). These three sections create an implied dialogue between the person under attack and the desire to escape to a better time.

There is certainly nothing wrong with fondly remembering the past or planning for the future. But, should we look behind or ahead for some sense of spiritual fulfillment? If we do, we will only play a game of ‘what was?’ or ‘what could be?’ and not ‘what is.’ If nothing else, Psalm 4 plants us in the spiritual present. We might not have everything we want, but God gives us all we need for now and that is more than enough.

Source: Emma Stephenson 14/04/2021, Churches Together SA

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