Dear Hope Family,
The complaint is as old as time, as old as Eden.
Adam and Eve, with the cynical whisper of the evil one in their ears, looked out at the world and discerned that from all appearances they were on the receiving end of a raw deal. They interpreted an inequity, and inversion, a fundamental unfairness at work in the world. The evil one fanned this sparking perception into flame: God’s holding back on you . . . he’s holding you down . . . you are not getting all that you can and should have . . . you deserve more and you are deprived.”
Our brief journey through the Psalms this summer brings us to this age-old complaint and how it comes to expression in Psalm 73. Asaph, the choirmaster of God’s people, gives us a window of insight into his personal grappling with the inequity and inversion he experiences as he lives in God’s world, and his personal account refines the issue: not only are God’s people experiencing suffering and adversity but also others, the brazen unbelievers, are enjoying the very things it seems God intends for his people. Cormac McCarthy puts it like this:
“The rain falls upon the just
And also the unjust fellas,
But mostly it falls upon the just
‘Cause the unjust have the just’s umbrellas.”
Living with these inversions and this abiding sense of injustice creates all sorts of questions for God and concerns about his goodness, wisdom, and power. Unaddressed and without expression, these doubts and concerns lead to spiritual bitterness – the very pointed struggle Asaph voices in Psalm 73.
Corporate worship is designed to address these realities – not with smooth, easy answers nor immediate resolutions to the experienced inversion. Rather worship reminds us of God’s character. It allows us to look at his goodness in the cross and the empty tomb and promised return of the King. Worship provided Asaph a different set of scales upon which to weigh reality, a different set of lenses through which we can view and interpret our world.
This Sunday we have a chance to enter the sanctuary, like Asaph. A chance to bring to God our doubts and experiences of providence that don’t seem to add up correctly. Rather than merely going through the motions and getting through the elements of the service, rather than listening to a sermon and singing songs, it is a chance for discipleship and for healing of our hearts, ears, and eyes. It is recalibration and centering ourselves upon the truest truth of God’s goodness and wisdom and power in the midst of a world that doesn’t add up because of the fall.
I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what I need! I am excited to join you in God’s sanctuary.
Grace and peace,