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Who do we go to when we need answers?
When we were young (very young), it was parents. “Mommy, help!” may have been a plea for something to eat or to get out of a troublesome situation. Middle school found a time when parents didn’t have answers anymore and we turned to classmates for all the answers. Today, teens are still turning to“authorities” other than parents but also use social media as a resource for connecting questions to answers. When the 20’s came around, parents become smart again and were a resource for advice and counsel.
However, sometimes, we are our own authority. The famous Dr Seuss said,
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go)
There are a lot of “you’s” in his quote. There are plenty of acknowledgements of talents and skills and an imperative to do something and do something unique. Dr. Seuss puts all the weight on the reader’s shoulders to get moving and make something happen.
However, Luther’s caution about leaning on our own wisdom is good counsel. He said, ““I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.”
Whomever we go to has to earn credibility. Youtube and Google lead us to “how to” manuals and other sources of information. However, those resources also have their agendas and will provide information that may oppose tenets of Christian life. Social media? What WAS our world like before the dawn of Facebook and Twitter? Quieter for starters! And just like Google, an agenda NOT in step with our Christian life is quite apparent in the “top stories” that lead our reading. It’s important for us to be reminded to seek God’s will in whatever comes our way.
The writer of Psalm 4 turned to God quickly with, “Answer me” (PS 4:1). Why? He knew from past experience and from teaching that God had delivered in the past and would again. He wrote, “You gave me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.” (Ps 4:2). David also writes with a certainty of whose he is and how important that is. Verse 3 says, “But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.” Of course David would go to God in prayer! He was confident in the Fatherly relationship he had with God, was dependent on it and acted on it. This confidence stemmed the questions of “How can this happen” and “Why can’t I have good things happen to me and my school?” Instead, David is looking past the earthly trouble and seeking the light of God’s face (4:6).
Doesn’t it sound wonderful to go to bed in confidence knowing and trusting that the Lord makes us dwell in safety? A key that is implied throughout this Psalm is aligning one’s own will with God’s will. David demonstrates for us a key piece to that experience- it’s prayer. Prayers of praise, prayers of lament, prayers of confession, prayers of thanksgiving. David’s prayers would be well to be our prayers, too. Be sure to make prayer a constant in your life and be sure to look for God’s blessing your decisions and activities.