December 11, 2018
Mary Aline Fertin ’19
PSALMS 85, 94; ISAIAH 5:18-25; 1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-28; LUKE 21:29-38
In his sermon “Expecting the Lord’s Blessing”, the late Chinese church-planter Watchman Nee aims to depict “God’s Blessing”: “Divine activity that is not based on human activity… A working of God that is not based on our work…. He cannot do the unexpected for us while we are expecting results in proportion to our own arduous effort.”
Psalm 146 begins with the exhortation “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul.” It reminds the reader not to place trust in princes or men, whose plans come to nothing and whose spirit departs. Humankind is placed in contrast to the Lord, maker of heaven and earth, who remains faithful forever, upholds just causes, lifts those who are bowed down, frustrates the ways of the wicked, and reigns for all generations.
This passage struck me as a very timely reminder of where our efforts and labor should be focused. God upholds the causes of the meek: giving food to the hungry, setting prisoners free, giving sight to the blind. These are issues most Duke students support and are working towards resolving in our own fields and with our own unique expertise. Yet our ways are always limited and flawed without trust in the Lord. Good intentions often fall short, and human plans come to nothing.
Psalm 146 teaches us how to experience “God’s Blessing”. We are reminded: always praise Him, place trust in Him rather than man, recognize the ways in which the Lord blesses you. These verses speak to me like a template: join your arduous efforts in all good and righteous things with an enduring reliance on the Lord’s provision. After all, he reigns and remains faithful forever!