Editor’s note: This Advent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
By Brooklynn J. Smith
I imagine this Psalm being written by someone who knows what it is like to be laughed at, to be scoffed at, to be thought of as silly, simple, or foolish.
I bet this author has been clinging to their faith in a Messiah for a long time. They have been doggedly enduring insults, jeers, and let-downs as they wait for their promised One to arrive and to prove them right after all: to bring healing and wholeness to the world.
In the midst of people laughing — in the midst of people seeing the here-and-now and saying, “Clearly, you’re having delusions. There is no God of victory! Look at our present hardships, our pain! There is nothing beyond that which you can see now! There is no healing in hope!” — in the midst of these accusations, the Psalmist cries out to God. The Psalmist says, “I trust in you, Holy One! I still trust in you. I will continue to trust you. Don’t let me down, I beg.”
In the meantime, a request of God: The Psalmist asks God to continue to teach the Psalmist God’s ways; to lead the Psalmist in truth and mercy as the world waits; to make this hoping, healing.
Today many of us believe the Messiah has already come, but we are often still in this Psalmist’s place — waiting for God to make Godself present and known to those who scoff. When we testify to forgiveness, peace, and mercy in a world full of bitterness, grudges, and violence, we are this Psalmist. When we declare healing and wholeness in a world of brokenness, when we declare that God will multiply our resources — that God’s radical hospitality will make room for all at the table, we are this Psalmist.
When we cry out to Jesus to lead us in the paths of love and transformation, we are this Psalmist.
As we wait for the celebration of God’s incarnation in human flesh, as we wait for the moment of victory with this underdog Psalmist, let us continue to trust in God. We will not be put to shame. God is with us, and our hope is a healing hope.
Brooklynn J. Smith is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary.