On most Sundays, I publish the Sunday Lesson. They’re nothing more than an observation or an idea or a study I’m working on that has useful applications. I feel deeply blessed and deeply responsible to write this. I schedule the posts to publish at 1:35. If you miss one, let me know and I will email it to you. You can also sign up for notifications and will get an email anytime I post something. I’m up for all comments and try to respond to them all. Be forewarned that I reserve Sundays for my family. It’s a work in progress, but a goal we’re all growing into. So, if I don’t respond, I’m probably playing chess with my daughter or watching lousy TV with my wife. On an outstanding day, I might catch a couple innings of Braves baseball. With my wife, of course. It’s Sunday.
I don’t need to say it, but I will for my grandkids who will read this in fifty years: COVID is kicking everything. We wear masks at work and schedule around coworkers who are sick or taking care of loved ones. People bicker like children about freedom and why they can’t toss down a few beers at the local restaurant with a dozen friends, sitting on each other’s laps, laughing and spitting all over each other. We can’t go to stores as we choose, and I haven’t been to a book store in months, forcing me to read what I fell in love with during my previous fourteen trips there. We – well, not me – complain and gripe and talk bad about the evil cretins who inserted the virus into 5G wireless waves, infecting everyone who uses a phone.
But…G promises freedom! The American dream! Paul wrote “I can do anything I want!” right? In short, Americans are living as if we’re G’s chosen people, able to freely do whatever we damn well feel like doing whenever we feel like it.
That being said, I’m reading through the Bible now in historical, chronological order, based on the Blue Letter Bible site’s daily Bible reading program Chronological Plan. (You can also buy a chronological Bible…) It’s fun and a learning experience to read the Psalms and minor books alongside the backbone books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Today, though, I read a Psalm, and a short passage applied directly to me. It all applies to me, of course, but this caught me by the scruff of the neck.
I complained to a coworker yesterday like a petulant four-year-old that I was ready for COVID to go home and to get back to normal life. He’s in the same susceptible demographic that I am and agreed that he was tired of the whole thing, too. We did a poor job of comforting each other. “Only another year to go,” I guessed. “Hmm. Hope so,” he sighed.
Then, I read this passage about the righteous man:
Bad news holds no fears for him,
Firm is his heat, trusting in Yahweh.
His heart holds steady, he has no fears,
Till he can gloat over his enemies.
Strong words from a man who prayed for protection from his enemies.
But this spoke to me. I had an issue at work this week, not from an enemy, but just a lousy week when a few things I was sure would go right, went wrong. Because of me.
But here is a verse to take home, to write on the inside of your wrist. Bad news holds ho fears for him. Let’s be honest here: this in no way guarantees a winning lotto ticket or a safe ride home on bald tires in the snow or a negative cancer test. Nothing in the verse says that G protects you against any of the million pieces of bad news we can hear. It’s simply an observation that, for the person whose heart is firmly set on trusting the Father, there is no fear in bad news because we know who holds the ultimate keys to history.
What’s the take-home message?
The take-home message is easy: trust in G as the author of your history. As easy as that sounds, it’s also contrary to our nature and eminently difficult. It is, though, a worthy goal to pray about, ponder, and grab hold of in whatever measure you can. Every day I ask for a bigger scoop. Be careful about what you ask for, though; learning and maturity come through struggle. Remember the words of Jesus: “every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it bear even more.”
By way of explanation, I label myself as an agnostic Christian. I attend a Southern Baptist church and am comfortable with Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology and all kinds of Protestant thought. For Bibles, I generally use the Jerusalem Bible, the English Standard Version, and the Amplified Bible. A favorite verse is Micah 6:8 where the prophet says:
G has already told you what is right and what to do: do what is right, love loyalty, and walk humbly with G.
To see all my published Sunday lessons go here. Thanks!