Growing up in Wisconsin provided a lot of opportunities to play in the snow. I remember one day in school we were sent outside by our teacher to play after a big snowstorm. We dressed in our snow pants, coats, hats, boots, gloves, scarves…we all looked like Randy from “A Christmas Story.” My teacher had a good plan; send them out to play, feed them lunch, put them down for a nap; sounds great! She made a mistake, though; she gave us snow shovels.
A friend and I climbed a snow bank, he picked up a load of snow, threw it over his shoulder hitting me with the snow shovel over my left eyebrow. I found myself in the doctor’s office with my mother. After the doctor cleaned me up he laid me on a table and said to my mother, “Hold him down.” This is a phrase you never want to hear your doctor say. Five stitches later, I walked out with a new appreciation for the dangers of friends with shovels.
Sometimes, the foundations of life can be shaken unexpectedly. Who knew going outside to play in the snow would end in a visit to the emergency room? That’s a small way in which our foundations can be shaken; almost everybody has had stitches at one point or another.
Our foundations can be shaken in much more serious ways, though. The loss of a spouse, financial difficulties, a prolonged illness, worries about struggling children, a difficult marriage, an addiction, or a threat from someone who wants to harm us can cause chaos and pain.
In Psalm 11, King David speaks about these difficult times. He wrote this Psalm based on things that had turned his life upside down. He faced the death of several sons, an attempted assassination by King Saul, and a coup led by his son Absalom, who later died in the war David fought to regain his throne.
In Psalm 11, David asks the question, “When the foundations are shaken, what do the righteous do?”
David gives us two answers to this question.
First, we trust in God’s justice. God loves justice. He promises that those who enjoy causing pain, or who don’t care when they cause pain, will find themselves on the receiving end of His wrath. God, in His justice, is going to ensure that everything causing His people pain will be judged severely. We can know that God, in the end, will remove everything that shakes our foundations so that we will never experience them again.
Second, God tells us that the righteous will see His face. We will see His face in heaven where we will be in His presence forever. We also see His face in this world as well. We see His face in our Christian brothers and sisters as we express our love for one another. The Church is vital for every Christian because through the Church we receive God’s love. God expects His people to show love and compassion to one another when those foundations are shaken. Christians are not meant to survive outside the Body of Christ. God shines His love into our lives through our brothers and sisters. We see God’s face through His Holy Spirit as well. God’s Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us at baptism (Acts 2:38) and lives within us as God’s presence in our lives. When our foundations are shaken we can know that God is with us, giving us strength, guidance, and comfort through His Spirit.
When life hits you in the face with a snow shovel, know that God will be there to restore us. He will destroy the things which cause us pain, He will show His love to us through His church, and He will minister to us through His Holy Spirit.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.