Memorial Day

Sometimes we lose patience. We honk at the stoplight, or mutter while waiting in line. There are times that we all lose our patience. There are times when we all lament, “how long will this go on, how long O Lord.” You’ve had days like that, haven’t you? You’ve had one of those days when you wonder if things will ever get better.

King David of Israel had those days as well. In Psalm 6 King David laments. He is not just annoyed. He is in anguish. He is not ticked off at someone who is being inconsiderate. He is in agony feeling his separation from God and waiting for God to deliver him.

David cries out, “My soul is in anguish.” David is crying out to God. The world is unfair. It is broken. The sin that infected God’s perfect creation has trickled to David here and now. His sin, the sin of his father, the sin of all people, weighs on him in this dark time. Nothing is familiar, nothing is right. David feels the full anger of God at the destruction of His perfect creation. This is the pain that weighs on men in a battle. It is a pain that can be worse than physical pain. It is agonizing when things are so wrong and nothing we can do can make it right. David cries out for God to make things right.

It is distance from God that makes things hellish. Hell is a complete separation from God. Sin rips us away from God who is all that is good and right. We can see a reflection of that in our relationships with each other. When we have wronged a person and have not been forgiven we feel distant, separated, the closeness that was once there is gone. The distance can seem miles, the wait for forgiveness an eternity.

Everyone was made to be close. We long for a closeness to God and each other that is now gone. This separation is hard. We raise our faces to God and ask, “how long?”

In the Psalm David turns to God. He says, “For the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”  Here we see one of God’s great miracles. It is also one of the least heralded. When we look for miracles we often look for the theatrical. Sometimes we forget the miracles that are with us every day. Like faith.

What a great miracle faith is because our faith in Jesus, God’s Son, grafts us into God’s family. Faith comes from a powerful source, and does powerful things. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. God’s Holy Spirit uses it to close the gap between us and God. With faith comes strength and patience. God assures us of faith through His Word in Baptism. He strengthens our faith through the body and blood of His Son. With God’s miracle of faith and the strength it brings we can look into the dark and not be afraid.

In the Psalm David had faith that even in the darkest night God would not leave Him. The Lord had heard Him. God Himself had accepted David’s prayer.  Even under the weight of sin David knew that a Savior was coming. That this day would not be the last day, and that he would be with God.

You have the joy of knowing the voice of your Savior through the Word. You can see His light in the darkness. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “ Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God.”

When life is dark and the night is long look to your faith. Remember that Jesus is in command. He sits on the right hand of God. He intercedes for us. He carries us in difficulty, and when the end comes we do not suffer the separation from God that is hell. Instead we are welcomed by God’s Son into His presence in Heaven, eternal communion with God.

On Memorial Day we remember those who have served in and suffered like David. We give thanks that they fought for our freedoms yesterday and today, especially the freedom of faith.  We especially give thanks for the chaplains who remind those in dark places and days that there is a light and He is Jesus Christ. David asked, “how long, O Lord?” God answered Him and us, “Now.” Your salvation is today. Jesus has healed the gap between you and God. In your darkest day and hour He hears you and will bring you to your home in Heaven safely.

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