|Courtesy of Pamela Ruschman, Photographer|
“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad, let the distant shores rejoice.” Ps 97:1
This is a psalm of gladness and rejoicing even amongst the storms of life. It is a reminder of his righteousness and justice. They are the foundations of his throne (v.2). He guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. What a promise as we trust in him. The bible has thousands of promises. Verse 11 says “Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
As I gaze out over the waters of Lake Michigan early this summer morning I see the horizon, the sun just beginning to blaze from the distant shores with rejoicing. I am sitting on a stone bench at Concordia University with verse 1 of this ancient psalm carved on the back. It is always a reality exploding into my consciousness. Poet Frederick Faber wrote,
My God, how wonderful thou art,
Thy majesty how bright,
How beautiful thy mercy seat
In depths of burning light!
This morning be glad that our God’s light is shining brightly across the waters. Whether there is a storm with crashing waves on the shore or quiet, flat calm, his light reflects. Sometimes the golden beams are sparkling like diamonds. Other times dark blues and purples with white foam between the waves wash.
There is a story in Matthew 4 where the Disciples are in a storm in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and fearing for their lives. Jesus is asleep in the stern. When roused by the terrified men, he rises and tells the sea, “Quiet, be still!” and it does. Yes, God can quiet and bring peace in the storms of our lives and he will in his timing and ways. There are many stories and verse in scripture that remind us that the waters will not overcome us or the fires burn us (Isaiah 43). God is telling us to take an eternal view of the circumstances. Even though we may be in the valley of the shadow of death as Ps 23 relates, we are walking and we will get through. So fear not and be glad. Look to the distant shores and rejoice.