Genesis 2:4-9,15-17; Psalm 103:1-2,27-30(LXX); Mark 7:14-23
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
All creatures look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth. (Ps 103)
One of the most persistent themes in the Psalms–and indeed throughout the Scripture–is the gratuitous nature of creation. All that is, life itself and all that sustains life, is pure gift from the source of life and being. Everything that lives, lives because God’s Spirit sustains it; we live because God’s breath continues to enliven us, as it did in the beginning (Genesis 2).
When I am tempted to think that what I am going through will crush me, that I will not be able to recover from whatever blows life brings, I am called back by this thought: that God, who allows the storms to blow, and who allowed Job to be tested, is the One who gives the strength not only to survive, but to overcome. That’s not to say that every difficulty becomes easy; it just draws me away from the abyss called despair. I may be angry–because the plea to God, ‘but I won’t survive’, simply won’t do. I can certainly say to the Lord, ‘if it is possible, take this cup from me’–and that as stridently as I can manage. But in the end, I have to give in, and say, ‘not my will but yours be done’, not as resignation to a fate that threatens to destroy me, but in joyful expectation that the One to whose will I submit is the One who will bring me through whatever dark and thorny ways I must pass.
That doesn’t always seem like good news, I confess. But I know that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. And this is, and always will be, my one true and steadfast hope.