You Make Us The Scorn of Our Neighbors

You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:6-7

You hear it with every hurricane, every avalanche, ever tsunami… someone blames it on the sinfulness of man… or woman… or whatever misdeed expresses the guilt of us all. Even in this Psalm, the blame is placed on God for the actions of others, on neighboring tribes who are scornful. But then comes the line three times… restore us, O God, let your face shine, that we may be saved.

As if God’s face would stop shining! As if God would go back on the promises God has made to us! The evils of this world are not God’s doing, not God’s punishment, not a test that God sends our way. Heavens, no! The covenant holds! God’s face shines!

But every year has a time when the leaves fall, then the snow drifts, and life goes underground, until spring brings forth new life for summer to yield its crops. Seasons come and go. It’s the truth spoken by Ecclesiastes. There is life and there is death. For everything there is a season. But the final word is that God is with us in every season. In every disaster. In every hard day. On every difficult time. God is there with grace to lift us up and see us through.

God sees us through when tornadoes crash through in the spring and droughts hit in the summer and hurricanes arrive in the fall… God is not angry with us, certainly not punishing us, but there with us in every hard and difficult time. The covenant holds. Christ comes again. God’s face shines!

Rev. Dr. Woody Berry
First Presbyterian Church
Mexico, Missouri