The Upper Room Devotion for Tuesday, July 18, 2023, was written by Patrick Castleberry of Mississippi.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love. 17 Do not let me be put to shame, O Lord, for I call on you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go dumbfounded to Sheol. 18 Let the lying lips be stilled that speak insolently against the righteous with pride and contempt. 19 O how abundant is your goodness that you have laid up for those who fear you, and accomplished for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of everyone! 20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from human plots; you hold them safe under your shelter from contentious tongues. 21 Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as a city under siege. 22 I had said in my alarm, “I am driven far from your sight.” But you heard my supplications when I cried out to you for help. 23 Love the Lord, all you his saints. The Lord preserves the faithful, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.
Psalm 31:14-24 NRSV
As an avid gamer, many of my favorites are 2D side-scrolling platformers. A well -crafted game of this type can provide a player with an exhilarating feeling of unstoppable momentum as they run and jump toward the end of each level. Proper timing and reflexes are essential as a single missed jump can send the player's character hurtling toward their doom.
While playing a game like this, the other day, I suddenly found myself thinking: that the need for constant forward progress says a lot about our society. It seems that we are always in a rush to get somewhere or meet some goal. We're told by society and media that if we aren't hustling, we're wasting our time and being passed up by others.
Fortunately, God does not measure time and progress in the same way we do. God is the past, present, and future, and while we abide in God our time is not wasted, even if the world seemingly passes us by. God's plans for us will be fulfilled.
Patrick's reflection invites us to pause and consider the societal influences that encourage us to constantly make progress and their impact on the time we spend with God. God offers us stillness, rest, and renewal when we step out of the hurried pace of our lives. Such rest is essential for followers of Christ to reset our spiritual GPS, so that we successfully navigate the world based on the leading of the Holy Spirit. Consistently making time to dwell in God's presence strengthens our relationship with God and our ability to distinguish God's voice from the noise that surrounds us.
Dear Lord, help us not to rely on our own perception of time but trust in your divine timing in fulfilling your promises in us. Amen.
- Patrick Castleberry