138 I give thanks to you with all my heart, Lord.[a]
I sing your praise before all other gods.
2 I bow toward your holy temple
and thank your name
for your loyal love and faithfulness
because you have made your name and word
greater than everything else.[b]
3 On the day I cried out, you answered me.
You encouraged me with inner strength.[c]
4 Let all the earth’s rulers give thanks to you, Lord,
when they hear what you say.
5 Let them sing about the Lord’s ways
because the Lord’s glory is so great!
6 Even though the Lord is high,
he can still see the lowly,
but God keeps his distance from the arrogant.
7 Whenever I am in deep trouble,
you make me live again;
you send your power against my enemies’ wrath;
you save me with your strong hand.
8 The Lord will do all this for my sake.
Your faithful love lasts forever, Lord!
Don’t let go of what your hands
I don’t know why they call them “senior moments”, because I know some “seniors” or person’s blessed with many years…which is a much better way of saying an ‘old person’ by the way…I know some ‘person’s blessed with many years’ who have much better memories than I do. It’s true, as the brain ages it does have a tendency to let go of some information, but I think that may be because the longer we live, the less we give a darn about certain things and choose to let them go. Truth is, we all have senior moments. Those times where we get up from our chair in the living room because we have an important task that needs to be done in the kitchen, yet when we get to the kitchen we simply stair at it forgetting why we came in in the first place. Then we see the cheese balls sitting on the counter and return to our living room chair with them to eat them, forgetting that we real reason we came into the kitchen to turn the oven off or refill the dogs water bowl or put the milk back in the fridge. A few people reported in a recent story about senior moments some of their most memorable one’s, which may be close to an oxymoron, my most memorable senior moment. One man wrote, the pipe under his sink was leaking so he had placed a bucket under the pipe to catch all the water as he worked on fixing it. When the bucket filled up he picked it up and dumped it in the same sink that was disconnected. How many have done that one? Another, person reported she were driving to work, which was about 15-20 minutes away from home feeling like they had forgotten something, finally nearing the office they thought, “my keys, I forgot them”. He turned around and went back to the house making the 15-20 minute drive back. When he got home and to look for his keys he was frustrated that he couldn’t find them. Then he realized he was holding them, because he had been driving. Another person wrote that he’ll be talking on his cell phone, and by habit, he’ll pat his pockets to make sure he has his keys, and cell in their respective places. While on the phone he’ll start freaking out because his phone is not in his pocket and he can’t find his phone.
Ever feel like God is having a senior moment with you? As if God has forgotten that you are God’s child? God heard your prayer and then got up to go to the prayer machine, or whatever it is God uses, and then on God’s way saw some tasty cheese balls sitting on the counter? Now, I joke, but the experience of feeling as if God has forgotten about us is a terrible one. When your prayers go unanswered, or seem to go unanswered; when doors of opportunity that you want God to open stay tightly closed instead; when bad things happen unexpectedly; when your emotions go numb and all you can feel is apathy; when bills pile up, income goes down, and you just aren’t seeming to get ahead; when your dream doesn’t happen as quickly as you want it to – all of these can cause us to feel as if our Creator, the one who we believe is in charge in our universe, must have forgotten about us.
Sometimes, when we are in these situations, it is best to hear the words of another’s encouragement about the truth about God in order to be reminded that our God, simply put, never forgets about us. The Psalm writer of Psalm 138 gives us a few words of encouragement in these 8 verses that we can hold on to during these times in our lives. I do not think that the psalm writer is celebrating that God answered his prayers in the way that he wanted God to, rather I think that the Psalm writer is celebrating that in his faith he believes that when it appears that God has forgotten him there are certain truths that remind him that God never forgets or abandons him even when things do not go the way that he had hoped for. The first one is in verse 3, “On the day I cried out, You answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength”. Had God answered him in the way that he wanted he might have said, “On the day I cried out to you, You answered me, and did what I asked”. Rather, he says that God answered him by “giving him inner strength”. Sometimes this is the help that we need in the midst of our circumstances. I’m always amazed when I reflect back over the difficult times in my life and wonder how in the hell I survived some of those experiences that I’ve been through. When I think back to them I often think, “if I had to endure that again, I do not know if I could survive it, it’s a miracle that I did!” And that is it exactly, it is a miracle that we made it through it, because God, who never forgets us, was with us in the midst of that crisis or terrible situation. In the midst of the pain of life God’s powerful love, strength, and encouragement has a way of wrapping us in a cocoon and enabling us to face situations that we never could imagine we could make it through. Yet, it’s in the moments of those events that God, like the Psalm writer celebrates, empowers us with inner strength that helps us to face each day. God has not forgotten you, just look at the inner strength that God is empowering you with!
In verse 6 the Psalm writer says, “even though God is high, God can see the lowly”. I spoke about this in the children’s sermon. Really what he is saying is that even though we think that God is far away from us and has turned away from us, it is only our perception that makes this seem like a reality. It’s like when I used to play hide and seek with the girls when they were younger. This is a picture of Lydia hiding from me. As you can see from the picture, she was not the “World’s Best Hider”, but no children her age would earn that award. They believe at that age that if they cannot see you then you cannot see them. We know that is not true. Yet, sometimes when we think that we have turned away from God or neglected our relationship or communication with God that God pays less attention to us or has less concern for us. Thankfully, just like a child thinking that if she can not see you you can not see her is not true, the same is true with God. Try as we might to run away or hide from God, God always sees us, is always with us, and always loves us, never forgetting us!
Which is how the Psalmists ends his prayer, “Your faithful love lasts forever”. God’s deep and extraordinary love is greater than that of any parent for his or her child. In Isaiah 49:15 we are told that God says, “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you—never.