Murk and Hope

My steaming mug of London Fog reminds me of how murky today feels.

In the valley, the skies are smoky from wildfires miles away; I can’t see the nearby mountains.

In the broader world, flames and tension tower. Even social media smolders.

Voices from the office hallways are muffled through masks.

It’s kind of a “faraway, over the misty mountains cold” kind of summer day.

I can’t image not knowing Christ, because on His side, there is not one less drop of hope in foggy times. With every melancholy circumstance we encounter, He deals bountifully with us. The writer of Psalm 116 might have used words like cords of death, terrors of Sheol, distress, sorrow, lowness, tears, and stumbling to describe our world.

But those words aren’t where he begins or ends his Psalm, and it’s not where I begin or end my day, either.

He used his pen to worship the Lord “who preserves the simple.”*

“I was brought low, and He saved me…Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling…Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate…Praise the Lord.”

God’s spiritual blessings are alone astounding, and He bestows many tangible gifts as well. Every good gift. His forgiveness. Bread for BLTs. Passages from His Word. A church to fellowship with. Salvation from sin. A baby’s smile. Promises of a tear-free future. Health and energy. Generous wisdom. Luscious gardens. Glorious redemption. Handwritten letters. Mint fields freshly cut. Pink sunsets. All things pertaining to life and godliness.

His goodness overwhelms me, and I ask, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”

What should our response be to hope and benefits He graciously gives amidst stumbling? The Psalmist answers his own question:

“I shall lift up the cup of salvation
And call upon the name of the Lord…
To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And call upon the name of the Lord.”

I have an old upright piano in my living room. The engraved dark wood makes a majestic statement, but when I try to play music, something is missing. Sticky keys rob notes I need from my song.

In reading the Psalm above, it struck me there’s something missing from my own hazy mornings. I’m humbled that I don’t carve enough time to soak in the hope of faith and bring my needs and concerns to the One who commands the mornings.

I love the Lord, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.”

Is calling upon Him perhaps what some of us are missing from the murky music of our fiery days? Even in the eye of the storm, do we forget thanksgiving for the benefits rendered to us?

Since He has inclined His ear to us, pray the lost would see the clear compassion of God through sin’s smokiness.

Prayer was so central in the worship of the synagogue that it was called ‘the place of prayer.’ In this turbulent hour, how desperately the church needs to be called the same.

Dustin Benge

Let’s pray our churches, homes, and hearts will become places of consistent prayer. He hears, and this is one more reason we love Him.

May prayer not be found missing from our day…and from all the days of our lives.

When our prayer is very feeble, so that we ourselves can scarcely hear it, and question whether we do pray or not, yet God bows a listening ear, and regards our supplications. Therefore will I call upon him as long as I live, or “in my days.” Throughout all the days of my life I will address my prayer to God alone, and to him I will unceasingly pray.

Charles Spurgeon

*All Scripture references taken from Psalm 116 NASB

6 thoughts on “Murk and Hope

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