BY REV. TIM NAPPE
HARBOR OF JOY LUTHERAN CHURCH -- MILFORD
I have a backyard garden shed that was built about 16 years ago out of salvaged lumber. The lumber for the shed came from a wooden deck that used to be on the back of my house and had been exposed to the elements for several decades before it was recycled into a shed. It was good cedar lumber that began life as a tree, was crafted into a deck, and then served out its existence as a shed.
But, unfortunately, the ravages of time and nature caught up to it. The floor of my shed began to rot through. The joists were sagging, the sill plate was rotten, and the flooring was starting to feel soft under foot.
We began to be concerned that it would give way and that we would fall through the floor. The rest of the shed seemed to be stable and worth keeping. But the flooring was rotting away. The foundation was insecure and untrustworthy. The time had come for that shed to come down.
When talking about sheds or buildings, it is not hard to see and evaluate the extent of the damage. It is a little easier to assess the situation and estimate the expenses to repair or replace the building. With my shed, we came to the decision that it was time to replace it.
But what do we do when the issues are bigger and the harder to examine? How do we respond when the issues are going to affect lives and communities and future generations? Rather than talking about the foundations of a backyard shed, how do we assess the strength and stability of our culture or our society?
We have a hard enough time examining and assessing our own individual lives, how do we examine and assess the health and long term viability of our culture? We don't have to spend much time watching the evening news before we start to wonder about where we are heading and how much longer our history is going to play out.
It doesn't really matter what channel we watch or what our political persuasion might be, there are issues that catch the attention of all of us. Global warming, the economy, ISIS, terrorism, the possibility of pandemics, senseless violence in our communities, natural disasters, manmade disasters, nuclear proliferation, and multiple other issues are daily fare on the nightly news.
Our culture seems to be on a collision course with several other cultures that are all jockeying for position. The Russians, the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Iranians, and the Muslims all seem to be pushing and shoving, along with the Americans, to be the power players on the worldwide stage.
There are many questions about how it is all going to shake out. The more experts you ask, the more predictions you are going to get!
I have to admit to you that I don't find my comfort and reassurance in any human hands. None of the potential presidential candidates, who are more than willing to try to convince us to vote for them, inspire much confidence in me. The collective wisdom and power of human authority still seems to pale in comparison to the scope of the problems.
NATO, the United Nations, The Congress of the United States, the Supreme Court, The G7, the President and all his advisors, they just don't seem to be able to work together to accomplish a mutual goal.
How do we assess the situation and determine if our foundations are secure? That is not a new question.
These are words from King David in Psalm 11, verse 3, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
About 3,000 years ago, King David pondered the future and the scope of the problems that he saw in his world. He wondered about the future viability of the people and the planet. "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
What should those of us who are people of faith be doing? How should we respond? Where do we turn with our questions and worries about the future?
King David answers his own question in the next verse. "The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them."
We are not alone. We have not been abandoned. God has not given up on us and we have not been left to sink or swim on our own. God is on His throne, seated in His holy temple, right where He has always been. He is watching over us and aware of our situation. He examines each of us and knows our needs.
Thankfully, my life, my future, my family, and my eternal security is not merely in my hands. I can rest in the hands of my Creator, knowing that He holds me safe. The problems of the world may be much too big for me to handle. The foundations may be crumbling under foot, but God is still on the throne! God is still in control! And my life is safe in His hands!
I feel much safer in His hands than in the hands of any human being, including my own!