Psalm 29, 7-11
Something to read
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.
The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
King James Version
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, 'Glory!' The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Out of the storms of chaos the psalmist seeks God and finds God. For even when the world is crashing around us God remains in control.
God is there giving strength and blessing. Peace is possible even in the midst of the mightiest storms that rage around us. This is faith that holds on to hope even when the evidence is of hope being blown away on the wind. This is faith steeped in trust that the great chaos cannot shake.
It is worth pondering. We live in a world of cause and effect. We are used to outcomes that relate to inputs. We test and weigh and measure. And we are brutal in our judgements of failure and inadequacy and blame.
But here is a word of faithfulness that sees the raging storm and dares still to have confidence in God. Indeed, this is faith that roots the storm itself within the will and work of God. There is a grasping after mystery here.
Where is God when things are frightening and all goes wrong through forces far beyond our control? Where is God when we are at our most vulnerable?
For our Psalm God is at work; sending storms but equally giving strength to those who must endure the storm. How do we do our theology in the face of natural phenomena that can blow us away?
Something to do
Suffering is a great challenge to faith. Take the words of this bit of the Psalm with you through today. Keep them with you on a piece of paper. Dwell upon them. Pray them.
What emerges for you about how your faith holds on to God when things go wrong and all is falling apart?
Something to pray
God of the mystery of storm and flood,
of forces we cannot control and barely predict,
we bow before you in trust but also in despair.
We who are so fragile feel our weakness before your creative forces that also destroy.
We cry to you for all who suffer and all who go missing when the world is dangerous.
We cry in fear and we cry in hope.
Hear our prayers.
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers.