Old story of a farmer taking his boat down the river early one morning. From the fog, another boat rams his. Enraged, he cried out “what’s wrong with you?”. But there was no one in the other boat. It had simply floated where the current had taken it.
When life sends us what is both painful and unavoidable, it is up to the believer to bring peace. We are never to add suffering to the pain.
Pain is a result of injury. Suffering comes from being immersed in negativity after the injury.
So let’s look at Psalm 122 together:
A Song of Ascents. Of David. 1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” 2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! 3 Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, 4 to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. 5 There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! 7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” 8 For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
Spurgeon, theologian John Gill, and others have attached a view of the church to this chapter. Looking at the first 4 verses we can see how appropriate that is:
They bounce back and forth between what David sees in this prophetic verse and the church.
When Jesus fed the multitude in Matthew 15
When He healed the centurian’s daughter in Luke 7
When He healed the blind men outside Jericho in Matthew 20
Where is the compassion? In all we see in each other and in the world and even in the church, where is the compassion?
For one week, if you see or hear something good, repeat it. If appropriate, pick up the phone and call someone to tell them. If it fits, share it on social media. Can we do that?
Do you look for trends in a generation? We do. The greatest generation. The millennials. What if there were a generation alive today that was known as the compassion generation?
We want to go to the house of the Lord. Genuinely. Maybe desperately. But we are not there yet. Because of careful. Because of putting the needs of others ahead of our own. Because I will seek your good.
How can we seek the good of others in the current climate? By connecting with them. Really? Connecting when we cant connect? Sure!
I’ve done Summer Staff Orientation for the PW Summer Staffers a half a dozen times over the years. I like to ask them questions that help me get to know them, get them to know each other and get them to think about why they are there. Here are some of them:
What is something you dislike but wish you like?
What is the first thing you bought with your first paycheck?
What advice would you give 10 year old you?
What song do you never skip/change the station?
What is the earliest memory you have?
If one animal were made the size of an elephant, which would be the scariest?
What is something beautiful you see every day?
What is the biggest change you want to make in your life?