“169 Let my cry come before you, O LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your promise,
for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and let your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.”
In 1981, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a best selling book entitled, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. At the age of three his son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and was told he would only live into his teens. His son died at the age of fourteen. This classic, best selling book is a book about faith and trust in God when we are forced to face the unthinkable in life. It has spoken words of hope to millions.
Apparently, the Psalmist is facing the unthinkable, too. All one hundred and seventy-six verses of this Psalm are about staying true to God when staring in the face of some real and present danger.
Faith, in its purest sense, is less about expecting God to help us avoid or escape those unthinkable moments in life, and they come to all of us, and more about how we choose to face them. It is more about the kind of people we will choose to become when those moments morph into memories?
Every good pastor knows the above statement has little value to a person gripped by the pain, emotion, and uncertainty in the immediacy of those unthinkable moments. Handing someone a book on how to drill a well is of little value when that person is dying of thirst. You teach that person how to drill a well and help them do it, so they have ready access to water before the moments of thirst comes.
That’s why we regularly engage in study, pray, worship, compassion, acts of kindness, and work for justice. These are all the ways Jesus showed us how to drill our spiritual wells. When the prep work and drilling of the well is ignored, a person dying of thirst lives solely under the fear of death. That is, they have prepared nothing in which to place their hope. When people do the prep work and drill their spiritual wells, and regularly drink the life-giving water it provides, then, when life brings those moments of great thirst into their lives, they always know there is a spiritual well awaiting them and where to find it. They never lose hope.
This Psalmist is facing a moment of great thirst and yet never loses sight of the spiritual well that has nurtured him all his life. The Psalmist is reminding us the importance of prepping and drilling and drinking from our spiritual wells, too.
Be a blessing to someone today! Be generous with the water that flows from your well. It will never run dry.