We began our Sunday Conversation at Bluebonnet Hills by reading Psalm 37:3-11. This Psalm was written 3000 years ago, by David, a shepherd boy who grew up to become King. If he were alive today, the tabloids would be thrilled with the circulation boosts that would follow reports of the King's immoral behavior, behavior far worse than John Edwards or Tiger Woods. Every supermarket checkout line would have multiple exposes of King David's exploits. Yet, in spite of his human failings, David stands as one of the great writers of all time. His 23rd Psalm is probably the human race's best known literary composition. David's thoughts and ideas are worthy of our attention.
Psalm 37 is a product of David's old age ("I have been young and now am old." v.25), presenting wisdom gained from many years of observing how life works. David counsels us that we should "Trust in the Lord, and do good," expecting that this will lead us to blessings in our lives. (v.3). Further, we should "not fret" when dishonest people appear to prosper by their schemes. (v.7) David tells us that "the Lord loves justice," (v. 28) and assures us that the scales of life will balance properly in the fullness of time.
Is David right? Is trusting God a reasonable strategy for living life successfully? Will we find, when we come to the end of our days, that we have invested our time and our emotions well, if we choose to trust in God? When the time approaches for us to pass from this world, and we reflect on the things we have done, will we see that we have made good choices, and lived a life that was worth living? David's advice, speaking as a "life investment counselor" in Psalm 37, is that we should invest our trust in the Lord, and then live according to the true calling in our hearts. (v. 4) Is David right about this?
Is God worthy of such trust? When we see scenes like those from Haiti in recent days, it is understandable for us to wonder if God can be trusted. How can we trust in a God who allows so many innocent persons to suffer and die in such a tragedy?
Asking this question on Sunday morning produced several responses. The opening idea was that we cannot be truly free unless we live in a world where tragedy is possible. If we are always shielded from heartache and trouble, then we are not free to experience the realities of life. Furthermore, tragedies in our lives provide opportunities for us to grow. Our spirits are tested, strengthened, and transformed by the struggles we endure. This is where it helps if we can trust in God. If we can trust in God, then we can find a source of strength and grace to sustain us through times of trouble. If we can trust in God, then even when life knocks us flat, we can rise up again with greater strength than we have known, discovering new life and new possibilities.
One question we did not have time to address was, "How exactly do we go about choosing to trust in God?" It may be a simple decision, to trust or not to trust, but that does not mean it is an easy decision. For some of us, choosing to trust in God is the most difficult decision we will ever make. Perhaps we should talk more about this.