“Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him! Only God is my rock and my salvation— my stronghold!—I will not be shaken. My deliverance and glory depend on God. God is my strong rock. My refuge is in God. All you people: Trust in God at all times! Pour out your hearts before the Lord! God is our refuge!”
Psalm 62: 5-8 (Common English Bible)
Do you remember the words to the old crooner’s song, “I did it my way”? We have a tendency to want our own way. We also have a bent toward being completely self-sufficient. In our culture, it is completely expected for one to rely on one’s own ability to work and to provide for one’s daily needs. In other cultures, however, the needs of one person are considered the needs of all. In Jesus’ day, a person who was blind, for example, depended on the generosity and help of neighbors and friends for provisions as well as for help with daily tasks of getting around and caring for himself since he was not able to care for himself without the help of others. Somehow, through our history and our quest for independence from other nations, we have also cocooned ourselves from other people. With wartime slogans about “pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps,” we have forgotten that we are connected to others in our community and in our society, not only for our own good, but for the good of all. True, we should do all we can to provide for ourselves, but we must also not forget that we are bound to each other, and that what hurts one of us somehow hurts us all.
Today’s Psalm reminds us that we are not autonomous. We must find rest in God because God is our source of strength and determination. While we may have a stubborn determination of our own to do things for ourselves, we have to rely on God for those things that are out of our control. God gives us strength and health and is the source of faith and hope. When God is our refuge — the place we run in time of trouble — then we will be grounded from the storms that shake us to our very souls. With our faith in God, storms like death, illness, suffering, even persecution cannot shake us. When God gives us strength, we can then be a source of strength for others in need.
Are you trying to “go it alone” in life without God and without others? Would you invite God to be your source of inner strength? And then would you hear God’s call to you to be a source of strength to others in need?
Jan McCoy is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Covington. She may be reached at email@example.com.