Boy, it is hard to relate to a psalm of praise in the midst of a Jobian-level crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic! I read this and my soul went cold. I’ve never been more grateful for my faith community, but I can’t say I feel connected to my faith. My ministers have kept preaching, my church family has checked in on me and set up a community support chain to help feed the hungry. I feel the love and support of the Christians in my life now more than ever. But I’m not able to feel God.
The God represented in Psalm 113—who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and earth (vv. 5-6)—is particularly hard to take. This Lord seems a little haughty right now. If this God is raising the poor from the dust, then why are the poorer zip codes in my city suffering higher rates of infection?
I could look at this disaster as a message from God, a shock we needed after years of steadily marching away from God. After all, the healthy among us are now consuming less, focusing more on our families, and thinking of ways to help others—all things our minister used to have to remind us to do every Sunday. Unfortunately, thinking of this as a God-given moment of reckoning brings to mind a fire-and-brimstone God that I’ve never much cared for. I prefer the unconditionally loving father. And at this moment, I can’t find him anywhere.
I feel unable to praise God today. I’m not able to find comfort in a God that does not feel present right now. But I am able to look towards the godly—the robin perched in the tree outside my kitchen window, the Christians in my community who are supporting the vulnerable, the doctors risking their lives to save the sick. I can praise the love of God that I see in God’s servants.
When do you struggle to offer God praise?
God, draw near to us as we struggle with the chaos and pain of our world. Help us see where your hope is visible.