Life Is Hard. The Good News Is, We Have Wisdom From Scripture

Life is difficult. It is difficult because we must always make choices and our choices become harder and more complex as we mature. All choices have consequences. Even the choice to avoid making a decision in difficult situations has its consequences. This is especially true in matters of the soul.

Psalm 60 reveals a time when Israel has experienced a defeat in battle. They feel lost and they are returning to God now and asking him for help in the coming battles. You can hear their desperation in this prayer. Their confidence has been battered. But, through the oracle, God affirms to them that it is he who owns the land: “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth…” (verses 6-8)

The psalm speaks of the feeling that God has rejected the Israelites and “no longer goes out with their armies.” They have been humbled. They have come to the most important realization of all, that, “human help is worthless.” (verse 11) They have again realize that it is only, “With God [that] we will gain the victory…” (verse 12)

Is this not the most important message for us to take away from this psalm as well? In our adult lives we are sometimes confronted with the need to make decisions of great import, whose consequences go far beyond ourselves, well beyond the moment, that may even have consequences for our very souls. We cannot hide from these decisions. The consequences come, whether we want them, or not. Like the Israelites, we are being counseled here to put our faith in God alone. We do this best by going to God regularly in prayer. We must make prayer a habit in our lives. We must continue to learn each day, through each experience, how to discern the difference between what is really true and false, what is really good and evil. We have the scriptures for our guidebook. We can go to our pastors, or to those who are recognized as the holy ones among us. We can seek the support of our church communities. But first and foremost, we must desire always to do God’s will in all things. If we have, and keep, this attitude of trust in God, God will always hear our voices and he will comfort us with his graces. And we, like the Israelites, will find our confidence renewed, even in the face of the most difficult of times.

Lord, help us to keep our eyes only on you. Help us to recognize our need for you in all things, but especially in those times that we find most troubling and difficult. Our hope is in you alone, Lord. In you alone will we gain the victory. We pray these things, as always, in your name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.
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