Wednesday of Pentecost 13 – Psalm 138

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
    for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
    my strength of soul you increased. All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
    but the haughty he knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

I live on the west coast of the United States. Much my family resides in the Midwest. This has necessitated numerous cross-country car trips. Always looking for something new and exciting to see, several years ago we stopped in Alliance, Nebraska, the home of Carhenge. This attraction is a “replica” of Stonehenge made entirely out of old cars painted the same industrial gray color. My kids think it is hilarious. We have stopped numerous times now. I attached a photo I took on a subsequent visit. The cars have all clearly seen better days. Many of them narrowly escaped being crushed and recycled. As I walked among them, I wondered about all the family vacations that they had facilitated. Now they were the destination for families with awkward tweens, eye-rolling teens, and dads wearing dark socks and sandals. Did you read that last verse of the psalm carefully? You really need to. David is singing the praises of God who has rescued him from enemies on the day he walked in the midst of trouble. God’s right hand delivered him. But that last verse should bring us up a little short. God will fulfil his purpose for David and for the one who speaks this psalm as his or her own. But please notice, it is God’s purpose. It is not my purpose. It is not even the purpose that we might imagine. I am sure that the men and women who made, sold, and bought these cars from dealers’ lots could hardly have imagined the purpose to which they were finally put, stuck in the ground on the vast prairie of Nebraska, a tourist attraction, an homage to another place thousands of miles away on the plains of Salisbury, England. Yet, here they are, fulfilling another purpose, and doing it rather well. God fulfills his purpose for us. Will it be pleasant? No promises there. I am sure that the nights get cold on the plains of western Nebraska. The elements are harsh, and these cars will eventually rust and fall apart. Will they someday have to be replaced by spent Priores* and used up Teslae? Perhaps. The owners of the land and the cars get to make that determination. God has made us and redeemed us. We belong to Him. He gets to make decisions for our purposes. That is not at all bad. Read the next line too. God’s steadfast love endures forever. His purposeful decision making is always done in that love. I look forward to the purposes he has in mind for me. *Despite Toyota’s assertion that the plural of Prius is “prii,” Latinists know that the plural of prius is priores.

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