During the summer after my sophomore year in college, I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa to visit schools, churches, and orphanages in order to understand how AIDs deeply impacts the children and culture there. Toward the middle of the trip, we visited a school that was not much more than a mud hut with a sparse straw roof. It was not the structure of the building that completely shocked me the most but a small poster hanging on the wall showing the amount of orphans at this particular school due to AIDs. More than half of the students were orphaned. In this moment, my mind raced. I was furious for the impoverished life that these children had without even having parents. This was a moment where I cried out to God.
We all can remember that moment when nothing seemed right. We were frustrated, angry, and held our hands up to God asking where he was. This Psalm speaks clearly to those in this situation. As the Psalm starts, the Psalmist is wondering where God is and if God has rejected him. The Psalmist is self-consumed until the moment that he remembers what the Lord has done in the past. These stories, which had become his own, led the Psalmist to think of stories of God leading the Israelites through trying times.
During those rough moments in life it is our tendency to turn inwards to ourselves and to allow our problems to consume us. This is human nature, but is not the healthiest approach. As we cry out to God, He invites us to remember the stories of how he has brought redemption in the most trying of circumstances. As we share these stories as a community of believers, we gain creativity in bringing redemption to the lives of others and through the most trying circumstances of our lives.
While I am not glossing over the AIDs epidemic in Africa (The problem is still very real.), I can say that God brought redemption through those moments. Several classmates that traveled with me were able to go back to work with organizations and orphanages to help children in this exact situation. Others are actively involved in charity events to help people in situations like this. Although I am not currently a part of one of these organizations, I was instilled with a passion to help others who have different life experiences than me. If all of us had turned inward and ignored God’s call on our lives to bring redemption, we would only be living in a pit of despair instead of seeking to bring God’s kingdom to our community. As a community, let us remember God’s story and creatively seek to bring redemption in moments that we are crying out to God.
Contributed by Kim Codd