Flying cows - August 12th, 2018
I once knew someone who seemed irrepressibly optimistic. It was as if there was never a darker side. The world was always a positive place. He found reason in everything to praise God, which was to be honest mildly irritating. I thought I had caught him out once when a passing bird bombed him with devastating accuracy. I thought he might drop his guard, but he was not in the slightest put out. Praise the Lord cows don’t fly, he said, with a broad smile on his face.
I mention him because he came to the forefront of my mind as I was reading one of the Psalms today. Psalm 34: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. That was him to a T. I read further and that old sense of irritation resurfaced. The writer said: I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Well I have to say I am very pleased for him but I have spent quite a bit of time recently with people who have said: I sought the Lord, he has kind of answered me, but nothing has changed. They are not at all as convinced as my friend that cows don’t fly!
My irritating friend played a great part in my coming to faith. I doubt whether for all his irrepressible optimism and faith he ever really believed God was always going to make life easier for him. He died far too young of cancer. Deliverance from fears might mean they disappear completely but that’s not always going to happen. But with God around they might cease to be so overwhelming. They cease to be so destructive. How does that work? I have no idea but the writer of the Psalm says: The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him. That’s an amazing image. He is saying when you are afraid God comes and sets up camp alongside you! It’s enough to make you bless the Lord at all times.
If you happen to be mildly irritating in expressing your faith keep up the good work and if you are passing a field of cows just say a little prayer.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
Lord, give us courage in the face of our fears and also that joy of knowing you that enables us to bless you at all times. Amen.