As we read Psalm 138 in worship yesterday, I could not help but notice our call to lift praises to God and to trust. The psalmist doesn’t say anything about it being easy; in fact it names our walking in the midst of trouble. However, through the trouble, the psalmist names that God’s hand is outstretched, that God’s right hand delivers us, and that God’s love endures forever.
Yesterday we also had the gift of saying a blessing for fourteen of our youth as they prepared to head up to Montreat for a weeklong conference. Reflecting on this Psalm and thinking about the gift of our children and youth, I give thanks to God for God’s work in their lives.
With what feels like an endless list of all that is going on in our world and in our communities these past couple of years, it is overwhelming. I think particularly of our children and youth and their families as they learn to navigate the changes and the struggles that come. With mental health challenges rising, with school and virtual learning difficulties, with the negative side of social media becoming clearer, with isolation and loneliness being more prevalent, and with so much more, it feels as though we walk in the midst of trouble. While we might think of the trouble and enemies that the psalmist writes of simply as warring neighbors and armies, the challenges that are prevalent all around are a different form of trouble and enemy. We pray with the psalmist, trusting that God will preserve us against these enemies, trusting that God’s hand will be outstretched, trusting that God’s right hand will deliver us, and that the Lord will fulfill his purpose for us.
As our children and youth gather to worship each week, joining us in lifting praises, and as they participate in Church School or other programs, I pray that they might glimpse the Spirit’s presence and that they might know God’s steadfast love which endures forever.
As our youth are at Montreat, I invite you to pray them – for God’s strength, love, and peace to surround them and fill them. And, I invite you to pray for all of the children, youth, and families that our church has the gift of journeying alongside – that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s love.