Psalm 118:19-22

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

In this Psalm of Thanksgiving, the author is expressing praise and gratitude to God for His salvation. In verse 22 he points out that “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

Jesus quoted this verse in Luke 20:17, referring to Himself as that rejected stone. Many of those living in Jesus’ day, including the religious leaders, rejected Him. Even today, there are many who reject Him, including religious leaders. Our culture is growing increasingly more antagonistic towards the Christian faith. Not surprisingly then, polls show that church attendance in our country is on the decline. In an attempt to reverse this trend, many mainline denominations have embraced a more liberal theology. A theology which denies such foundational Christian doctrines such as the deity of Jesus, His atoning death on the cross and His bodily resurrection from the dead.

Endeavors to make the Gospel more appealing to the lost by eliminating the heart of the Gospel is vanity. God’s redemption is found only in Jesus Christ; as who He truly is and in what He truly accomplished. May we remain faithful to the Gospel as God has declared it, even in a culture that is growing increasingly more antagonistic to Him.

Jesus, you are everything that you have proclaimed to be. There is none like you. There is no one else who can save. And we thank you for your grace and your truth. Help us, your church, to be faithful, now and forever.

— Frank Ulle

Psalm 29:3-5

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

In Psalm 29, David is painting a picture of the voice of the Lord, in His magnificent presence, coming down from heaven like a storm that rages over the oceans and sweeps through the forests. We get the sense that David is not only watching this storm but he is hearing it. He is hearing it with ears that understand its source and its power. He is hearing it, knowing its Maker.

The voice of the Lord is shattering. The same voice that brought David’s ears to attention also calls us to attention. This past summer I experienced the Lord’s voice in a brand-new way. In the midst of a prolonged and overwhelming season of ministry, I found myself needing a knee surgery that would put me down completely non-weight bearing for 8 weeks and in a full leg locked brace for 3 months. I moved forward knowing this would be a challenging time but confident that I had the emotional capacity given the experiences that I have already walked through to manage a knee surgery. I had highly overestimated myself. During those first couple weeks of sitting in a chair completely helpless, I battled not only a physical pain that I have never experienced, but an emotional pain of realizing exactly how helpless I actually am. I learned how one day a very strong and capable woman can the next day not get herself out of bed to her chair to read her bible and must completely rely on her children to provide her with food and drink. I instantly knew the Lord was using this surgery to teach me and growme. The overwhelming nature of my life had been consuming me for quite some time and as I let my heart settle into this time of rest, all of the outside voices began to quiet. I have never had such a time of nothingness, solitude, and deafening quiet in my life. The Lord’s voice seemed to be the only thing that remained and it was like thunder crashing in my ears. It was completely safe and gentle but yet powerful and shattering.

I quickly developed a hostile relationship with the brace that seemed to devour my entire leg, especially at night as it seemed to become larger in bed as I fought with it to sleep. Not only did I have enormous pain and instantaneous loss of muscle and strength, but every time I wanted to move and reposition my body this mound of metal that trapped my leg would not let me move. I would have to fully sit up, with my arms turn my leg to a new position, readjust all of the pillows to support it and protect my other leg from the metal, and finally try to go back to sleep. Occasionally, I would unhook the brace to just feel some temporary relief. However, whenever I did, I would feel overcome with fear – the weakest part of my body was now completely vulnerable. The brace. The brace was for my good. The brace was my protection in my weakness. The brace brought awareness. The brace was safe. The brace was God’s grace to me. It was the tool He used so that my ears could hear His voice thundering loudly that not only is my leg vulnerable without a brace but that I am vulnerable when I am overwhelmed with life and the many crowding voices that compete with His. He alone is the brace that protects our weaknesses and heals our vulnerability.

Precious Lord, in the temptation of our daily world to get caught up in trying to do and be too much, in trying to submit under the weighty expectations that others place on us, will you please sweep in and rescue us with your voice alone. Protect us in our vulnerabilities and our weaknesses. Teach us to hear you, strengthen us to obey your voice in what you alone are calling us to each day.

— Vicki Krnac

Psalm 27:13-14

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!

I have never been good at waiting. I was the one who shook the Christmas presents the moment they were placed under the tree; the one who skimmed the last chapter of a book before I began reading the first page; the one who laughed when friends would ask if I would wait to find out my baby’s gender. No, waiting has never been easy for me. Like every Type A personality, if there’s one thing I can rest my head on comfortably at the end of an overwhelming day, it’s the soft pillow of control. Control—knowing what’s coming, how it’s coming, when it’s coming, and how I can finagle what is coming to best fit my agenda. Control—believing that I alone know what is good and best for myself; I alone can be trusted with my life; I alone can determine the trajectory of my existence. Why, then, would I sit back and wait for what’s to come, when I can act now and know what lies ahead?

In Psalm 27, David has no idea what the future holds. Enemies are chasing him, armies are encamped around him, family has forsaken him; in a nutshell, his situation seems completely out of control. And, yet, his attitude is not one of fearful hurriedness; rather, it is one of calm anticipation. In the midst of uncertainty, of a future unknown, of the unanswered question of when his present suffering will end, David commands himself to “Wait for the LORD!” But, why? What good can possibly come from waiting?

First of all, waiting on the Lord acknowledges God’s sovereignty. It recognizes that He is in control of everything—from the orbiting of the planets, to the rule of world governments, to the most specific and intimate details of life. His sovereignty reminds me that nothing happens without first passing through His fingers, and that no situation I face surprises Him in the least. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours…and you are exalted as head above all” (I Chronicles 29:11). My waiting puts God in His rightful place—as sovereign Lord over everything, including my specific situation.

Secondly, waiting on the Lord demands my humility. Waiting places me in a posture of submission, in order that I might receive from Him. Humility is the cry of my heart that says, “I am utterly dependent on You, I am sustained by You, I am subject first to Your moving in order that I may then move.” It is the letting go of self-reliance, to be filled with His presence. I wait, because I admit that I do not know which way to go if left to my own devices.

Furthermore, waiting on the Lord requires my trust. I won’t naturally wait on someone whom I ultimately don’t think will come through. But the waiting of which David speaks—one that emboldens the heart to “be strong” and “take courage”—means that I surrender my circumstance to the Father, trusting that His will for my life will produce far greater rewards than I could even dream up (I Corinthians 2:9).

And, finally, waiting on the Lord encourages my faith. David says he “believes” that he
will see the goodness of the Lord. Surely, David could not know for certain the outcome of his terrible, temporary condition. But praise God that faith doesn’t live in the temporal; it abides in the eternal. Faith is the hope that one day, no matter my earthly struggle, I will see the Lord face to face, being resurrected, redeemed and whole; it is the evidence that, while I cannot always understand what God is doing in the midst of my everyday chaos, I know He is always working for my good and for His glory. Waiting produces faith, and faith has that wonderful ability to shift my focus away from the uncontrollable disorder around me, and upward toward His divine will.

And so, Lord, we wait with hopeful expectancy for You to move in our circumstances, by Your will, in accordance to Your prefect time. We thank you that biblical waiting does not mean passivity on our part, but that you invite us to have emboldened and courageous faith, trusting that You alone are sovereign, and that we, like David, will one day look upon Your goodness in the land of the living.

– Lauren Aey