Monday, November 6, 2017


By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion. —Psalm 137:1

I was raised on the creed of the stiff upper lip, but I've learned that there's no shame or weakness in weeping. The best and manliest of men, on one occasion, burst into tears (John 11:35).

The world is full of happy surprises, but it's also a vale of tears. It's unrealistic to suppress our sorrow. Solomon [and Pete Seeger] aver, "There is a time for weeping" (Ecclesiastes 3:4). 

George MacDonald describes sorrow as "a wandering woman, a kind of gypsy, always  going about the world, and picking up lost things. Nobody likes her, hardly anybody is civil to her; but when she has set anybody down and is gone, there is often a look of affection 
and wonder and gratitude sent after her." 

I don't understand the dynamic, but it seems to be true: Tears can relieve our sorrow. Quite often, MacDonald continues, "tears are the only cure for weeping."

Tears are not forever, however. One day the last teardrop will fall and  sorrow "will be forgot, love’s purest joys restored.” God will have wiped away every single tear.

In the meantime, a little crying might do us some good. 

David Roper


The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your soul."  —Psalms 121:7

Psalm 121 is a song for pilgrims on their way to the City of God, a journey through mountain passes and perilous places, ambush sites, bandits and brigands all around. Pilgrims need protection! Thus, "keeping" is the theme of this psalm.

The centerpiece of the psalm is verse seven: "The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your soul."  The parallelism establishes the only protection God has promised. He has not said that he will keep me from danger in the coming years but He has promised that He will keep my soul—the part of me that I call "myself," the "me" that is timeless and eternal. As Jesus said with such fine irony (and humor, I suspect): "Some of you will be put to death... But not a hair of your head will perish" (Luke 21:16).

The psalm is very personal. (The pronouns "you" and "your" are singular throughout.) "Hey, YOU," the poet says, "I'm speaking to you. You, the one listening to this song. Hear this: 'The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and forevermore'" (119:8). 

"Forevermore" is just that: From here to eternity. "He is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless, before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 25). 

"Rivers know this,” says Winnie the Pooh. “We shall get there someday."

David Roper

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