And to the Children – Psalm 78

Psalm 119 is not the only long Psalm. Psalm 78 might be the next longest. But for good reason…

We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord,
and his might, and the wonders he has done. (v 4)

So often we keep what God is doing tucked away in our hearts. After all, religion is deeply personal, right? It can divide, and like politics, it’s not polite conversation, at lease my mother taught me. Although now talking about politics has certainly become in vogue no matter what it’s division. So why not our faith?

Especially to our children, and our children’s children. Why should we?

So that they should set their hope in God. (v7)

Otherwise, what are they going to hope in? Science? Social change? Political parties? Money? Pleasure? 

When you are as old as many of us, we know those don’t satisfy. One scientist contradicts the other or new discoveries are made that fit into a “theory” that then become scientific truth. And who created creation, what scientist’s believe in? Scientists create systems that assume there is no god, setting themselves as gods.

Social change? Political parties? We may defund the police, but we still need systems of justice. A new power system always erupts. Money? Pleasure? Living for one’s self? Is that really satisfying? 

David recounts the history of Israel to the children, just as we recount our personal histories to our children. It’s the grace of God, nothing else, that I am still alive. It’s the grace of God we have any money as people have graciously supported our ministry. It’s the grace of God that we are still married after 50 years!

I love David not only tells the good parts, but the bad parts so

that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Have you told your kids, your grandkids, about your sin, your failure, your rebellion? We tend to whitewash the past, lest someone think negatively about us, lose respect. But we know it. And how can our kids know the depth of God’s forgiveness unless they hear about the depth of our sin? 

The rest of the chapter recounts the ups and downs of the Israelites. I’m sure our grands could not sit that long, but we can give them bits and pieces. To me it is summed up in verse 22…

Because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power.

Two things are essential: believe in God, trust his saving power.

When we do, life works. When we don’t, it may work for a while, but eventually it implodes.

Let’s tell that to our children…

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My Psalm – Psalm 71

Why, as an introvert, would I join Cru, one of the most evangelistic movements in the world?

In college, I was so shy, it was hard for me to buy things in stores. As soon as a clerk said, “May I help you?” I retorted, “No… just looking.” I may have known exactly what I wanted, but in that moment, I could not get the words out.

A year later, I was part of a movement that had us walking up to strangers, asking if they had “ever heard of the Four Spiritual Laws.” I did it, but I wasn’t ever comfortable.

After serving seven years (painful for me in my shyness), we left for 4 years in business. But then, the Lord called us again to serve, and I struggled. God created me, and I was shy. We were also no longer college students. Why would he call us back into this movement?

Enter Psalms 71.

I won’t go through it phrase by phrase but just highlight key verses.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

I had come to know Christ young, memorized scriptures, and as long as I didn’t have to speak in public about my faith, I was comfortable with letting my faith go deep.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;  forsake me not when my strength is spent.

I wouldn’t call 30 “old age” but we now had three children and certainly felt we had entered a new era of life. Life was so chaotic, sometimes I had to pick between bathing the kids or taking a shower myself! Cru felt like college students, and I wondered if I could keep up.

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wonderous deeds.  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me,  until I proclaim your might to another generation,  your power to all those to come… You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.

Cru’s emphasis was leading the next generation to Christ. I was sitting, with babies on my knee, desiring them to know Christ, desiring others to know Christ. His promise to me, in the midst of my shyness, was to be with me, never forsake me, and comfort me.

That was enough. I signed up again. That was 40 years ago. Some people are surprised to hear how shy I was because I learned to take initiative, became convinced that if the Lord was telling me to say something, it was sin for me to hide it within myself. And God has been there to comfort me as Roger and I both increased in responsibility.

Sometimes God asks us to do things outside our comfort zone. But he has promised his presence to go with us. What more do we need than to trust him?

Desperation – Psalm 69

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the deep mire where there is no foothold;I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am wary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3)

I’ve been there, haven’t you? Desperate for my God. Waters rising, sometimes slowly, sometimes a rush. I loose my footing; everything that gave me balance slowly slips away, like mud eroding beneath my feet. The water gets deeper and I can’t touch bottom, or even know how deep it is. The terror overwhelms until capacity runs out. I’m weary, limp, letting each wave move me until the light of hope grows dim.

Right now is a scary time. Things that once supported us are slipping away. We see the waves of Covid come closer. Economics are uncertain and jobs are slipping out from under us. Politics are uncertain with values, assumptions, even familiar sites are destroyed. We reach out, but little is secure.

And it’s probably not as deep as it may get in the future, when we actually lose our job, our health, our “nest egg.” The anxiety we feel now is actually a good thing because it helps us to keep fighting. But what about when we become so overwhelmed that we don’t have the strength to go on…

My goal has not been to depress you, and I apologize if I have brought you down, but I have found, personally, that facing reality even if it is hard, is helpful. I know what to expect, what feelings I am going to have. And then, in faith, I can start claiming God’s “steadfast love.” Psychologists call it “normalization” — in realizing feelings are overwhelming as much as “normal” in a situation like we are in.

It’s normal to feel desperate to lose a loved one without being able to say goodbye or give one last hug. It’s normal to jump when someone sneezes. It’s normal to mourn the loss of co-workers who are laid off. It’s all part of our desperation, the mud slipping from underneath out feet.

What do we do with desperation?

I would lose all hope except for the “but” in the Psalms…

But as for me, my pray is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. (Psalms 13:15)

First, it is a choice…for me…the “who.” Will I depend on the news source, the medical community, the political party, even my family and friends as wonderful as they are?

Second, I recognize who is in charge of “when” is an “acceptable time.” My Lord and my God, who made the universe that we are just now figuring out how old it is! He created time, the sun and the moon that tell us what day it is. He knows, from his perspective, what is the “acceptable time” in my life.

Third, I realize the “why” he would save me — his steadfast love. Covid, injustices, destruction, even death are not beyond his “steadfast love.” It’s his heart, his motivation, it’s what he feels (yes, God is not unfeeling) towards me.

Fourth, I embrace the “how” — his “saving faithfulness.” No enemy is more powerful than the creator of the universe. No matter what the outcome of the elections, the diseases, the economy, or anything else that may take my life, my livelihood, my security, he has me. He will be faithful because faithfulness is his character.

I end up feeling as if someone has put rocks beneath my feet — four of them! The who, when, why and how. My head rises above the water. I feel a surge of strength, of hope.

I don’t know “what” is going to come next, but I have made the choice to stand on his rocks and pray, pray, pray!

Psalms 85 — Out of Confusion…

I was a little confused when I began reading Psalms 85. It talks about how God was favorable to the land, etc. and then asks God to restore them and not be angry…

There must have been something going on sons of Korah’s brain. Maybe the first part is the memory of when God blessed; the second part the reality of what they are living through?

Trying to blend the beauty of the past with the pain of the present leads to a series of questions:

  • How long? (It feels like forever, there is no end as this goes on for generations!)
  • Will you? (Is it your will to revive us?)

It reminds me of the parents of prodigals I pray with. They pray salvation for their kids, remembering when they were children, walking in the Lord, holding them in their arms. Yet now they are now in a living hell, facing addictions and rejection.

It reminds me of a friend, struggling with cancer, remembering the ministry she used to have, people she could pour her life into. Now pain and exhaustion, day after day, keeps her immobile. She is growing faint.


“Let me hear what God the LORD will speak.”

The moment of clarity.

I need to be quiet and quit fluttering around in my head and heart. Remember how he said, “Be still and know that I am God.” In good times or bad, this is all I need.

Why? Because he is God, my LORD, and he will speak.

“For he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.” As I hear from the Lord (reading his word; being still), I experience peace. I have the strength to not turn back to the folly of not believing that he loves me, protects me, is here with me in my life.

“Surely his salvation is near…Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; Righteousness and peace kiss each other… Yes, the Lord will give what is good…”

Just listen.