Third Sunday of Lent: The Psalm Passage – Comfort now, praise later

O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!” (Psalm 95: 1 – 7)

If I had sat down to write on this passage yesterday, I might have something different to say than today. If, maybe, I would wait until tomorrow I might have something different to say about this passage. But I am sitting down to write today, with all the events of today swirling around in my mind. I comfort myself by remembering that by the time you, beloved reader, read this the events of today will be the memories of last week. And more than likely I will have yet another story of the Lord God carrying me through another difficult time. But that will be then, and this is now. And the now is hard. How can I praise when it is hard?

And if Psalm 95 were all praise and worship, I would be stuck and feeling very sorry for myself. But verses one to seven is are not all the the psalmist wrote.

“Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.” Therefore in my anger I swore, “They shall not enter my rest.” (Verses 8 – 11)

Beloved reader, do not fear for my faith, or think I am wavering in my belief. My heart has not gone astray. I have trust and faith that God will see me through, and that all will be will. It just goes back to one of my recurring questionings – how can I praise God when I feel like I am at a point in my life where petition and intercession are more of what I need? It is a relief to me, and a balm to my spirit to realize that whatever “wanderings” I have had in the desert have helped me realize several important things. First, whatever my travails might be now, I am not alone and God will see me through, Second, the psalmist makes room for times of uncertainty and sadness. Third, what is my disconcerting and dismal “now” will not ruin the ultimate good God has in store for me.

I may not be at the point of making a joyful noise to the Lord; but neither am I with out hope and comfort in God. And knowing that, I enter into the Lord God’s rest. Selah and shalom!