When we assert that God is enough, we should not slip into a spiritualized fantasy that dismisses the real challenges of life. These six verses of the psalm extol the blessings of God and the reality that God is enough. But we know that there are many who are hungry who do not get fed. There are those who get sick and do not get well. These tragedies unfold even as people cry out to God for help.
Many people have a transactional view of God and God’s action in the world. I’ve known these people to turn away from God, angry and disappointed because they have suffered and their prayers have not been “answered.” Yet if we look at the world with clear-eyed realism, the idea that God will give us everything we ever want and will prevent all suffering is simply wrong. This is an immature and inaccurate image of God.
The great spiritual teachers of our faith understood the realities of suffering. They looked to the life of Jesus to see that embracing faith means living hopefully in the midst of the suffering of the world. Any understanding of God’s fullness must take into account that God is enough in both good times and bad. God comes to us in our suffering not necessarily to fix it but rather to help us with the endurance that leads to a deeper faith.
God’s love endures forever no matter what happens. When we discover this truth, it is enough.
God of suffering and rejoicing, help us understand the mystery of faith and the mystery of you. Especially in our suffering, help us to know your love. Help us to experience you as a companion along the paths of our lives. Amen.
Hosea relates a further message from God. Israel has repeatedly ignored God’s teachings, even though God continues to reach out with love and kindness. A just response would be wrath, but God will respond with mercy to restore the people. The psalmist echoes this teaching about God’s enduring love. Although some have gone through periods of distress, when they call out to God, the Lord responds with steadfast love. We then explore guidance for the life of a Christian. In Colossians we read that we should focus on heavenly realities, not the physical world. Rather than pursuing our own pleasure, we should put on a new self and behave more like God desires. The parable that Jesus tells reinforces this point. We should focus on storing up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones.
Read Hosea 11:1-11. How have you suffered the consequences of turning away from God? How has God welcomed you back?
Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. What stories of God’s goodness does your family tell to the next generations?
Read Colossians 3:1-11. How has Christ renewed you? How do you see Christ in others?
Read Luke 12:13-21. How has greed shown up in your life? How do you combat greed in all its forms to live out of a mentality of abundance?
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