Psalm 146:3-10 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever.
This is a psalm to turn to when I can’t sleep at night worrying about world affairs at both international and local levels. It describes the kind of world God wants and that we will experience one day, because God keeps his promises! Justice. Abundance. Freedom, both physical and emotional. Protection. Compassion. The Lord provides all these things.
Our friends in Venezuela are showing me that it’s possible to experience all this even when the nation is going to pieces around them. Their eyes are on the Lord. Their hope and confidence are in him, not in powerful people. Living one day at a time with gratitude to find something to eat, they joyfully spend their lives helping others in every way they can. The enemy of their souls is all about destruction. They have learned to be creative even in finding water they can drink and in making full use of every bit of the erratic electricity a given day may give them. They fill their homes with the music of praise and worship, even as they lose their “rights” one by one. They don’t just dream of reconstruction; they invest in planning for it.
By contrast, what have I been fretting over? Having the “right” clothes so that Dave and I won’t be an embarrassment to our hosts in Singapore next week (what exactly is “smart casual”?). Combing the racks at Good Will, I feel the Lord correcting me with a gentle touch of humor: True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. . . So if we have food and clothing, let us be content (1 Timothy 6:6, 8).
Lord, today, please continue pruning and shaping me through the courage and conviction of my precious Venezuelan friends. Even though I can flip a switch confident of power and run to the store knowing the shelves will be stocked with food, teach me the joy and freedom of dependence on YOU.
P. S. While deforestation Venezuela-style is cutting trees for fuel to cook on, I just learned that you CAN buy corn flakes in Caracas: it will just cost you $17.50/box. The minimum MONTHLY wage in Venezuela is now less than $2.00. Want more? Google “Venezuela news.” Or if you read Spanish, subscribe to La Arepita.