Notes to Pilgrims #16
In the wake of a tremendous natural calamity such as brought about by the super typhoon Yolanda, many of us are left dumbfounded. We see and read the reports of devastation, chaos, and destruction that are slowly being reported in the media, and things are not looking bright at all. Whole towns and cities have been brought low by the fury of the storm. And the overwhelming loss of property is all but diminished by the disquietingly increasing body count of corpses being found left and right. It is easy in such circumstances to fall into despair, to be paralyzed with helplessness, and to forget the meaning of hope. Yet we must not.
In Psalm 57 where David pleads for God’s merciful deliverance from his enemy who was pursuing him to kill him, he twice exclaimed, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” When you read through this psalm, it is obvious that David sensed a clear and present threat to his life. He was pouring his grief before the Lord and asking for protection. Yet in the midst of his sorrow, he lifts his affections up to God and worships—“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” What was he doing? He was overcome with much grief and sorrow, fearing greatly for his life, helpless and hopeless, and yet he did not allow the desperateness of his situation to paralyze him. Rather, he lifted his eyes to God and worshipped. By exalting God and seeking His glory, David reminded himself of the greatness and sovereignty of His God. He looked up to God—found hope—and worshipped.
This, too, is the antidote to our present grief and sorrows. We too need to look to God and to realize that He is still King and in control of His creation. The storm may have been great, but our God is greater still. The devastations and deaths may seem overwhelming but God is unfazed. He is exalted above the heavens! His glory spreads across the earth as water covers the seas. We need to look to Him and to find our strength and joy in Him. We need to worship. We need to remind our hearts of who God is and what He is able to do in His goodness.
We need to remember that in the midst of our disaster and ruin, God stepped in and picked us up from the rubble. We were slain by sin and lay dead on the road, yet God the exalted one glorified Himself by sending His Son to us on a rescue mission. Taking our death and giving us His life, Jesus dealt with the greatest storm to ever come our way. And because He has done so, because He has saved us, we can confidently look up to Him and worship with these words, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!”
—Pastor James (firstname.lastname@example.org)