I’ve been reading the Psalms lately (the whole year) and read Psalm 126 yesterday. Towards the end, the psalmist makes a request: “restore our fortunes LORD, like streams in the Negev.” It’s a cry to God for goodness to be abundant, and favour to be bestowed.
It’s also some cracking imagery.
Australians are very familiar with ‘drought and flooding rains’ (as the poem goes*). There are definitely times when we feel in a spiritual drought or that the goodness of God is coming from a tap that keeps being turned off, for no apparent reason.
It’s times like this that the calling can become unclear. The water is sparse and the dirt abundant. Things become muddied (literally, maybe) and the way ahead is confusing. We seek to please the Lord, but we’re not sure if he’s even there anymore.
We’re looking for a flood of favour as a signal of his grace, perhaps; to let us know we’re still on the right path.
However, I’ve been reflecting on how sometimes the favour is not for us directly; but perhaps for those God has called us to serve. Perhaps we’re asking God to bless others, so that we know he is blessing us and our ministry.
It’s a blessing poured out on the calling, not necessarily on the called. And, sometimes that’s OK. Sometimes a confirmation of the calling is enough to continue. The called experiences blessing, when those they serve are blessed.
Which is why the Psalm made me start thinking about Amos.
There’s plenty in modern society that angers me, but what angers me most is a lack of justice.
People are treated unfairly for the sake of someone else’s gain and others are powerless to stop it.
People are ignored when they require assistance and assumed that they’ll be fine to struggle on alone.
People are denied access to care they desperately need because no one’s bothered to make it accessible.
It’s a dog eat dog society, where only the strongest or meanest survive. The vulnerable are a means for others’ gain. There is no justice.
A Christian is called to speak into this. A Christian is called to step into this space and advocate for those who cannot. We are not to stand timidly by, but are to hear the call to campaign for justice.
It is as Amos says, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteous like a never-failing stream!”
Only God can make that happen.
Sometimes it floods overnight. Other times it takes longer. Just because the calling isn’t confirmed straight away, it doesn’t mean that we’ve wandered onto the wrong path.
The rains may be yet to come.
In the meantime, we can keep praying and crying out to God for restoration and justice. It’s hard in the dry seasons and we get confused, and Satan tries to thwart our every move.
But just like psalmist and Amos, we can cry out to God and watch what he does with the rains.
Yours in looking curiously at the clouds,
* Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, “My Country”