Refined by Trials
by Sandy Kizer
Friday – Psalms 95, 88, 91, 92; Gen. 47:1–26; 1 Cor. 9:16–27; Mark 6:47–56
(BCP Readings for today)
As I read Psalm 88, I realize that it is a very sad and contemplative lament of Heman the Ezrahite. He was a choral singer in the Kohathites ministry of praise in the Temple, after the return from the exile in Babylon. (1 Chronicles 6:66) He had faced a longstanding illness that threatened his life. His mention of death, the grave and the land of darkness all makes me think of one who feels forsaken by God.
However, in verse 13, Heman says that he cries out to the Lord for help. And his prayer came before the Lord in the morning. The Psalm ends unanswered from the Lord but not unheard. Heman sought the Lord.
Similarly, King David was consumed by guilt and rejection after his sin with Bathsheba. The repercussions of sin, separation and the death of Uriah haunted him. When David confessed his sin and sought the Lord, he was forgiven and reconciled. God not only forgave him but as His covenant of promise stood, blessed his lineage with the promised Messiah, Jesus.
We are all born into the world with a sin nature. As a matter of fact, we are all dead in trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1) This separates all of us from a holy, righteous Father and Creator. When we come to Him and confess our sin, Scripture tells us that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9) If we trust Jesus as our Savior, and have been reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit, we become children of God and heirs of His eternal kingdom. (Romans 8:17) Those whom He loves He disciplines. God allows trials and tribulations to conform us to the image of Christ.
I believe that Heman knew the Lord, and was being refined and conformed by trials. Not only that, he may have seen from afar the greater reward – eternal rest from all pain, suffering and death, in the presence of his Lord and Savior, praising Him in song forever!
During this time of Lent, may the Scripture and the powerful Holy Spirit within us remind us to confess our sin and ask for forgiveness. Let us thank our Lord Jesus for our redemption, which was accomplished by His death, resurrection and ascension, for all who believe and have faith in Him. As the Holy Spirit leads us to love and serve others, He also empowers us to share the Good News of His saving grace.
May we also, at Apostles Church, join with the Kohathite ministry of praise, rejoicing in our salvation, as we await His coming in glory, when we shall see Him face to face.
To Him be glory now and forever.
Image by Pierre Lognoul (used by permission via Creative Commons).