Spiritual Director · October 31, 2016

Affirm #13

As I was reading the Word this morning I was reminded of a High School classmate of mine, I’ll call him Lowell. Lowell was really shy and somewhat awkward, but very likeable. He kept to himself most of the time. He was much smaller than the rest of us and it seemed to me that he got picked on quite a bit.

One day, one of the upper classmen thought it would be funny to spray Lowell in the face with the fire hydrant. I don’t know what could have happened to Lowell but I do know what happened to that upper classmen. I lost my temper, grabbed him by the throat, backed him up against the wall and told him never to even look at Lowell again. I’m not saying that was the right thing to do… I’m just telling you what happened.

Have you ever been made fun of, put down, teased, bullied, ridiculed? If you have, I really want to encourage you to read Psalm 123. It’s just four short verses. King David wrote this Psalm and in it he tells us about being the victim of some bullies. However, his reaction, his solution, his way of handling his problem was much better than mine. He actually tells us a much healthier way of what we might call “retaliation.”

Read this…
“I look to You, heaven-dwelling God, look up to You for help.” Psalm 123:1 MSG

Did you catch that? Did you hear David’s secret tactic? He wasn’t thinking of ways to “get back” or “pay back” his enemies. He made a conscious decision to simply look to God for mercy. David wasn’t interested in revenge. He simply wanted a confirmation of God’s love for him, absolute assurance of God’s control and dominion in his life and that perfect peace that comes from knowing and totally trusting God.

Here’s the most important part – David allowed God to define who he was, not the world, not the bully. Oh, don’t get me wrong, David’s feelings were hurt. He took a beating, not necessarily like Lowell, but on the inside it stung, it crushed him every time it happened. But He knew that God was on his side.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: “Keep your eyes on Jesus…’ as the Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:2, “… who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed…”

As You well know, the world around us can be really tough and when we get beat up it’s easy for us to lose our way or react as the world does. Jesus, You are our Influence. Holy Spirit, help us to live more like our Savior today. Jesus, it’s in Your name we pray. Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.