This past Sunday, I preached a sermon called "Hope in the Shadow" taken from Psalm 23. There was so much I wanted to say, felt like I should've said better, and stuff I felt like maybe I didn't need to say. I was nervous about touching on the Ferguson, Missouri situation. How would people respond? Would I offend anyone's stance? Nevertheless, I felt led to speak on it. There's so much to be upset about, but there are seemingly so many silver linings. It may not be a time for victory celebrations, but there is a space for celebrations of hope.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that it's really in the bleak times that we come to appreciate hope. In our wilderness. In our valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). This shadow of death—not really death or defeat itself, but the looming and appearance of it.
A few quotes from people more articulate than I am:
" . . . It's not that death is the thing that is immediately encroaching upon David. But the thing that's encroaching upon him, for which he says, 'I'm not going to fear any evil because you're with me,' is the shadow of death . . . that looms over him."— Andrew Ardnt, on Psalm 23:4 in "Walking Under Death's Shadow"
"Far from punishment, judgment, or a curse, the wilderness is a gift. It’s where we can experience the primal delight of being fully known and delighted in by God." — Jonathan Martin, Prototype
Ferguson is in a wilderness period. I don't know what is going to happen in the days, weeks, and months to come. This one thing I do know: there is hope. The hope of unity. The hope of justice. The hope of love. Hope may be all we have, but truthfully, I would say it's often all we really need.
Grace and peace,
P.S.: Listen to the latest sermon "Hope In The Shadow" HERE.