The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
In these days when war is being raged by Russia against their neighbor, Ukraine, and at least 1,000,000 people are already refugees to other countries including the U.S., we are steeped in fear of another world war. People and nations of peace are doing everything they know what to do to prevent such a devastating event.
Those of my age at least remember something of WWII and family members who fought and died in it, as well as the devastation of Europe during that time, all the people who lost their lives and how hard life was for those who were at home, making the war machinery, bullets and bombs, and just trying to survive as best they could with as little as possible.
When David wrote this Psalm he had been under siege by his enemies. His enemies knew that God had anointed him to be King of Israel, but they did not want to lose power. Power was more important to them than Israel or God’s will for Israel.
The hunger of power is a craving that can grip anyone at any time. As we are so aware, it has its grip on some national, state and local leaders even today. And, it can get its grip on us unless God is our light and our salvation.
David’s situation was indeed frightening, and many of us have never had any experiences like he endured; yet we can experience some very frightening things.
Some things that are truly frightening to many people are the potential loss of things they have been good at or excelled at doing for most of their lives. For example, how fearful it must be for people with leadership skills to feel helpless when they are being attacked from a source they least expected, and it is moving against them to unseat their leadership. How frightening it must be for someone who is fluent in speech to become speechless after experiencing a severe stroke, how confusing it must be for those with long and wonderful memories to not be able to remember who they are, or who their family and friends are that they have loved, married or given birth to as they begin to recuperate from that stroke. Some power of memory has to be regained as much as possible and it is a struggle for them. Yes, a loss of power can come to any of us.
I am now walking with a cane which I have named “Freddie” to help me get around at home, at church, when I teach Stephen Ministry and Spiritual Direction, and when I go to the grocery store. Lower back surgery from years ago is back to haunt me along with my old friend “Arthritis” who is giving me a new norm of life that I am slowly getting used to. But, if I had the power to make my spinal column new again believe me I would do it. Yet, I along with David, know that the Lord is my stronghold of life and I am not afraid of whatever life holds.
We each will experience the loss of some power in our lives. That loss can help us realize that God is with us, and will lead us through the storms because he is our light and salvation. God is helping me learn my new normal.
Our faith enables us to live out of the hopeless places of our lives and our world and step into the glorious liberty and truth that God is bringing life to the whole creation in his Son, Jesus Christ, and we are a part of that creation.
1 In what ways have you experienced a loss of power, and how did you respond to it?
2. In the depth of your fears or despair can you see that God is with you and leading you through it all to new opportunities? If you are feeling a loss of power, where is God leading you now as you understand your new normal?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.