What is Going On?
Monday, April 15, was a tragic day in Boston, Massachusetts as two young men planted bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. (How can one be so cold, at best, or hateful, at worst?)Three people were killed, including an 8 year old, and hundreds were injured … some very seriously. Although this kind of event in the USA is extremely unusual, bad things make the news every day. A child is sexually abused. A woman is raped. A man is murdered. And these are just examples of “man’s inhumanity to man.” Consider other bad things in the news right now, like the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas (2 days after the marathon bombings). It was not an intentional act, but 14 were killed and hundreds injured. There are floods and avalanches and other “acts of nature” that are hurting people. Know what? There is a lot of hurt in our world. (You may be experiencing your own personal pain.)
So are you wondering, “What in the world is going on?” Maybe you continue on with the follow-up question, “What can we do in times like this?” Let me share some powerful verses that might help with those questions. Psalm 11 is attributed to David’s authorship. We don’t know, precisely, what was going on in his life; some suggest that he was being chased by King Saul who wanted to kill him. Whatever the circumstances, David’s life seems to have been threatened and some were giving “The sky is falling!” forecast and advice. They said, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart….” They were telling him that the threat was real and close. Then they ask what to them was a rhetorical question— “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Or, “What else can we do?”) They knew their answer— “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!”
Fortunately, David shares with us his response in verses 4-7. He begins with a correction to them— the foundations weren’t destroyed. Here is how he says it— “The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven….” In other words, though things around us may be in disarray, God is not shaken by them. Later, one of Israel’s worship leaders (perhaps being influenced by Psalm 11) would write, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea….” (Psalm 46:1-2). (You ought to read the whole psalm!) Reminding ourselves about the unshakeable things—and our steadfast God—in shaky times can be a lifesaver.
David goes on to write about two more things in which he has confidence. First, that God will, one day, eliminate evil people & circumstances. It may be soon, or it may be later, but he will do it! Second, he says that God is watching—and watching out for—his children. He sees us. He knows our hurts and fears. He also knows how to strengthen and grow us in tough times. David closes, in verse 7, by saying, “For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” If you are righteous (because of the salvation that God offers), do righteous deeds and you will “behold his face.”
Be light for our dark world!
Unless indicated otherwise, the English Standard Version, 2001 (ESV) is the Bible version quoted.