The mighty tempest of God’s intention

"Transfiguration" by Raphael, 1518 - 1520.  Vatican City, Direzione generale dei musei.

“Transfiguration” by Raphael, 1518 – 1520. Vatican City, Direzione generale dei musei.

For Sunday, February 15, 2015
Psalm 50:1-6

Sometimes under the cloud of injustice we sometimes experience in the world we ask reflexively, “Where is God?  If he’s there is he asleep at the switch?”  The writer of Psalm 50:1-6 responds, “Where is God?  Look no further than the sun which rises every morning.”  “The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting” (v. 1).

Asaph, the author of this Psalm, gives us a powerful and ever-present metaphor of the presence and righteousness of God.  The blinding beauty of the sun shining the sky, he says, is like God shining forth out of Zion (Zion meaning Israel as all it is intended to become) as the perfection of beauty (v. 2).  The presence of God is a “consuming fire” and a “mighty tempest” (v. 3).  There is no injustice that the consuming fire of a mighty tempest cannot overcome, not even that of a Jordanian fighter pilot being burned alive in a cage.

Over the last two weeks my family has been enduring a painful trial that seems very unjust.  It’s made us angry.  It’s made us weep.  It’s brought our spirits down.  This reading has been a tremendous help in that I’ve realized no matter the specifics there is no injustice the righteousness of God can’t consume.  The sun rising in the morning is a constant reminder of this.  (Of course, in a Wisconsin winter, the sun may not appear for days, but this is where a little moral imagination can be helpful).

What God has called us to do in the face of injustice is raise it up and release it into the presence of his consuming righteousness.  He WILL be the defender of our cause.  “The heavens declare his righteousness, for God Himself is judge” (v. 6).  What a joy to know that we know the Chief Justice of the Heavenly Supreme Court personally and that our world is a mere dot in the universe of his courtroom.

On this Transfiguration Sunday, our readings also take us to the Transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2-9).  In Jesus’ clothes becoming dazzling white we have another picture of the mighty tempest of God’s intention.  God is committed to setting everything right, no matter the cost, as demonstrated in the sacrifice and victory of his one and only Son.

Points to ponder

  • What is the greatest injustice you or your family have ever faced?
  • How did God show you his righteousness and generous love through that trial?
  • The next time someone encroaches unjustly into the lane of your life how could you respond better understanding now the mighty tempest of God’s intention?
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2 thoughts on “The mighty tempest of God’s intention

  1. Mark

    Hey Steve, I’m not sure what the injustice is that you guys are going through, but thank you for the post. I read it to my wife after reading it myself. She suffered a number of injuries and has been in pain every single day since being hit by a drunk driver over a year ago. It was a hit-and-run by a woman who resisted arrest and who had previous DUI’s. The woman got a fine (slap on the wrist) and, for her, it was like it never happened. Any pain my wife experiences is a reminder of the injustice. It seems like processing can’t be passive. It’s been a struggle to get past it.

    Pondering your points, God did provide for us in significant ways during the most intense periods. I was forced to take a leave of absence for 3 months to care for my wife, so our savings, vacation days, and any other funds were exhausted, but then we received 5000 dollars from someone anonymously in cash. Then, my in-laws let us live with them (rent free) so I could go back to work, but not my old job. I applied for a new job and got it. It paid more than what my wife and I previously made combined. I know that I’ll never make complete sense of injustices, but I’m making the effort to remember the details that contribute to greater trust…or else I’ll go crazy.

    Reply

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