April 07, 2017

I Trust in You, Lord

Psalm 31:1-16

But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me. . . .

—  Psalm 31:14-15

Grace comes as what I call the Divine Adversative. Adversative conjunctions (but, yet, still, however) are words that connect opposing or contrary ideas. They indicate a reversal of direction or perspective. God turns us around from being hell-bent to heaven-bound. Amazing!

David’s enemies made him the object of derision and scorn by his neighbors. Worse, he felt ignored and forgotten, treated as worthless, like a broken plate or cup. And those who took notice threatened his life and wished him dead. Jesus quoted from this psalm on the cross when he cried, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Why? Jesus experienced the Divine Adversative, but in the opposite direction. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

That transaction, with the Son of God taking on our sin, not only delivers salvation to us hell-bent sinners. God also takes the evil that befalls us and uses it to transform us. “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The Divine Adversative delivers grace to God’s people—transforming, redeeming grace.

“I trust in you, Lord.”

O God of transforming grace, you take the worst in our world to make the best of and for your people, just as you turned your Son’s crucifixion into our salvation. Transform us today. Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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