Hope - Psalm 131
"I just want peace," I once heard a person say whose life was in the midst of turmoil. When we hope for something like "peace," what does that mean? For this person, it meant a life free from the conflict she was facing. To us, our desire for "peace" probably means that, a life that has limited if any conflict in it. We would like to not have storms in our lives, small or large crises, that erupt and toss the boat called "Life" around in the winds, waves, and driving rain.
Unfortunately, that kind of hope is probably unrealistic. Our earthly life was disrupted a long time ago when man fell from the perfection of creation into the sin-filled life we now have. So, what can we hope for now?
It probably is realistic to learn to cope with the stresses of this life that confront us, maybe not daily, but often. It is our hope to learn to enjoy the quiet times, to learn to manage the stressful times, and to find solutions when the storms arise, regardless of the source. David talks to God about this kind of hope in a peaceful passage, "I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous, but I have calmed and quieted my soul.... like a weaned child is my soul within me. Oh Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore." (Psalm 131:1 - 3)
David has asked previously in other psalms for this quiet, this calm. Now, he reassures God, who knows his thoughts and ours, that he doesn't "occupy" himself with things too great or too marvelous (the reference being of those things too consuming in life that are larger than we are for good or bad). David's soul is quiet simply from being with the Lord. Paul says it this way, "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned that whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.... I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11 - 13)
Christ, our deliverer, gives us this hope and this contentment in all things. As with David, Christ's presence through his Word and through the sacraments brings this hope we seek. Pray for this hope and for the skills to learn contentment in all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Hope Men's Ministry