Psalm 90:1-2,14 – Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (NIV)
Amid the honking and clamour of a downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, traffic jam, my car screeched to a halt. In front of me, bumper stickers plastered over the back of a battered red pickup shouted, "He who dies with the most toys, wins." Another challenged, "Life is a [expletive deleted] and then you die." I felt offended and also sorry for the people who have such a jaded opinion of life. What had life done to them to make them like that?
True, life can be tough. When disease strikes, when old age saps our strength, when our income doesn't quite stretch to the end of the month or maybe not even begin to cover it, or when the bank has foreclosed, then life is hard. No doubt. But does that make the truck driver's philosophy correct? Is life only about accumulating stuff? Is there no more meaning to life than to hang tough, then die?
The hedonistic philosophy of the bumper sticker is wrong, dead wrong. The psalmist countered it when he wrote:
Psalm 91:1-2 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (NIV)
In the shade and shelter of God's presence, we truly live. In Jesus Christ, the Messiah, we find our shelter. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus, who went about healing the sick, heals our diseases, too. Jesus, who set the captives free from mental illness, still sets them free. Jesus, who fed the hungry, still feeds the hungry, often through food banks and church suppers. Jesus, who raised the dead to life, still raises to eternal life those who believe on Him. That's a far cry from grab all the stuff you can get, then do the world a favour and croak. For people of faith, God's presence through Jesus Christ more than sustains and enables us. He is our dwelling place, our abode, the place where we live our lives, nestled in the palm of His caring love.
Prayer: Creator God, You are our dwelling place, our secure abode, our refuge and strength, no matter what. Fill us with that certainty when times get tough, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.