Hope When It's Hard
Martin Luther said, "Who fears hell runs toward it." We have to face down our fears and let them lead to confidence in the saving power of God. "Give me... the gladness of your rescue and with a noble spirit sustain me," pleads the psalmist (v. 12, Robert Alter's translation).
The real problem is not fear. We have reasons to worry. For all that is good and makes us happy, the world is an alarming place. The problem is that it's hard to tell hard truth. We are broken people. We are often at odds with God, each other, and ourselves. One way or another we know this. So we are afraid and running toward different kinds of hell. We need not guidance but redemption--not therapy but grace.
God transforms "a broken, crushed heart." (v. 17) Love is naïve and faith beside the point if there's nothing that breaks our heart--from all that tears the world apart and makes life impossible for millions of families and children, to disturbing issues right at home and on the job that seem to have no resolution. We can be realistic about what we face because that's exactly where God's love finds us, restoring hope and confidence when all seemed lost.
Prayer: Gracious God, in confessing all that breaks my heart and makes me afraid, may I find the greatness of your grace and the realism of your love. In Jesus' name. Amen.