“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)”
Nine months ago, when this blog first began, I asked a number of noted Christian bloggers for advice. Above all, the response was that in all things God is to be exalted and glorified. I have tried, in my words and in my subject matter, to honor the Lord. I have tried to provide levity and a bit of poignancy as I have related my accounts of ministering in Boston. I have tried to apply Scriptural truths to the joys and struggles of serving God in one of the greatest cities in America.
The events of the last five days have highlighted the strange blend of human experiences. On the one hand, we have witnessed the ugly unexpected depths of evil that can reside in the human heart, actions which I won’t dignify by listing. On the other hand, my hometown has witnessed amazing examples of sacrifice and compassion – doctors who ran a full marathon only to run further to make it to local hospitals to care for the injured and donate blood, police and race officials who turned toward the mayhem and managed to navigate against the masses to minister to the needs of the injured, and unnumbered crowds who have prayed publicly, cried openly and gave selflessly for the needs of strangers. These dark days are enabling the light to shine.
Sorting through the events of the last few days – as a Bostonian, as a husband, as a father and as a pastor – and navigating the onslaught of pictures, videos and news breaks has been challenging. My thoughts have returned again and again to Psalm 27. Since God is my light (the source of life, warmth, vision and vitality), my salvation (the means of hope and deliverance) and my life’s stronghold (the place of rescue and safety) – whom shall I fear and of whom shall I be afraid? When my five year-old asks about all the police on TV, I can comfort him with the fact that God will protect Him. When my 12 year-old texts me with the concerns of his heart, it is comforting to know that God is His stronghold. When my 15 year-old reads social media accounts of greater tragedies and unsubstantiated developments, she can still be calmed by trusting in her Savior.
Today, Friday, we as a community are being asked to ‘shelter in place’ – to stay in our homes and remain there while the authorities do their work. That is the same message we receive from the Biblical witness: to “shelter in place” in the stronghold of God’s presence. There is no better place to wait out the storm – just ask the 12 guys that were out on the Sea of Galilee who cried out, “Don’t you care if we drown?” I close with the concluding words of Psalm 27, knowing that we will see God’s goodness here in this city (as we already have). We mourn for those who have perished, we pray for those still in recovery and we rejoice that the Lord rides with us through the calamity.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)”