In the midst of our house/job/life/stress chaos, Blake and I had lunch with our pastor. We basically just needed to unload on someone with more wisdom than us and JQ was happy to listen. It's hard to admit disappointment with life, hard to admit to anger at our circumstances, and even harder to try not to cry in the middle of Panera.
Out of that conversation, I was reminded of two things:
1) God's goodness is not dependent upon my circumstances. God isn't only good when I get the job and He isn't bad when I don't. God is forever the same. My circumstances may change, but God never does. He is always faithful. He never promises us the American dream (or our dreams, for that matter). He promises us to give us the desires of our hearts. Not that He gives us what we want, but He gives us what to want, and then provides a means to acquire it. He plants within us His vision for us, and if we listen closely enough we can hear it, and He can lead us to it.
2) JQ told us a story about Martin Luther (his man-crush). Luther was a reformer, a Bible translator, preacher, and theologian. He was also a musician. His most famous hymn is "Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott" - otherwise known to us as "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". The song was based on Psalm 46, the same Psalm I started praying at the beginning of this summer. In times of difficulty and hardship, Luther was known to say to his associate, "Come Philipp, let us sing the 46th." And they would sing. About the Lord's providence, of His might, of His strength.
That line has stuck with me since lunch yesterday, "Sing the 46th". When life is hard, sing the 46th. When life is easy, sing the 46th. When life is a disaster, sing the 46th. When life is a dream, sing the 46th. No matter what we may be experiencing - tragedy, loss, excitement, dissension, peacefulness, victory, defeat, disappointment, contentment.... God is who He is. He never changes. The Truth in the Scriptures never changes.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." (Psalm 46:1-7).
And I remember that God has certainly not forgotten about me. Not at all. Nor has he forgotten about those who are worse-off than me. I am not alone in this world, and even though I may not have exactly what I want, I have exceedingly more than I need. So, instead of singing my woes, I need to "Sing the 46th." Over and over and over again.
"A Mighty Fortress is Our God" Translated by Frederick H. Hedge:
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevaling.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.