The Upper Room Devotion for Thursday, August 3, 2023, was written by Ree Pashley Arusha of Tanzania.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” 10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. 11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Psalms 29:7-11 NRSV
When my son was in the NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit) his health and his ability to breathe independently were out of my control. But so, it seemed, was everything else. My father -in-law was ill; my car wouldn't start; and we had plumbing issues at home. As much as I tried not to worry, I didn't fell hopeful about anything.
Then one morning I read Psalm 29, and verses 10 and 11 resonated with me. The previous verses mention majestic forests, mountains, and great trees. They speak to God's power in a way that commands a response of awe. But verse 10 points to flood waters. That's more what my life felt like. Yet David says that God rules over the flood - over the hard, ugly aspects of our lives. Even though I felt over whelmed, God was not.
On my own, I couldn't think positively any more than I could will my child's lungs to fill with air. In recognizing God's power in every aspect of life, I could ask for God's blessing of peace. I didn't have to have a positive outlook; I could acknowledge that life felt difficult. Instead of trying by my own means to be hopeful, I asked God to give me strength and peace, knowing that God rules even in the flood.
Hardships and trials can sometimes feel overwhelming, like cresting flood waters that overrun rivers and lake beds. We may feel powerless to resist their currents of sadness, despair, and anguish. Yet, God stands ready to blunt the flood, diverting its impact and energy; allowing us moments to recuperate and refocus. May you find hope and peace to endure the floods with grace.
Dear God, we know that you are in control, even in difficult circumstances. Bless us with your strength and your peace. Amen.
- Ree Pashley