Thursday, June 28, 2018
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 13
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
I admitted it in a book that nobody’s read: “I prefer Harley-Davidsons over all other makes for patriotic as well as performance reasons…I refuse to feed the coffers of countries who dump their products into our market while employing unfair trade and labor practices and I just like the way my HD sounds, looks, feels, and rides!”
Not that anybody noticed, but that was written back in 2012.
That’s long before the tariff wars and even the Russians decided who will be our President.
Unless your first name is Rachel, Jim, Chris, or too many folks not covering real news in print or on screen, you didn’t miss the sarcasm in the preceding sentence-paragraph.
I know too many folks are increasingly humorless and take themselves too seriously; but I’m trying to lighten things up every now and then from the thick cloud of depression, negativism, crankiness, and fatalism born of increasing unGodliness in America.
Staying with HD for a while which I have done for most of my riding career, I know HOG riders can be really arrogant about their bikes and condescending about other brands.
It’s almost an idolatry!
Well, uh, it is an idolatry as noted by all of the clothing and charms with HD on ‘em.
I even know people who don’t own or ever ride one who have pants, denims, jackets, T-shirts, tank tops, shoes, socks, sunglasses, belts, bandannas, boots, gloves, woolies, hoodies, halters, hats, headbands, lip balm, rings, earrings, wallets, watches, and even undies and other unmentionable ornaments and accessories with Harley-Davidson emblazoned on ‘em.
More than almost any other brand or product or American symbol, Harley-Davidson and USA have always been synonymous.
In what seems like the last sign of the apocalypse or surely the demise of American civilization, Harley-Davidson is shifting parts of its production from America to Asia and Europe.
While I’m more of an exegete than economist, I know HOG riders; and I know they’ve been feeling increasingly betrayed by Milwaukee because of the portrayal of riders as soccer moms, distancing from its most historical constituencies, replacing classic models with Harleywings, producing promotional literature that’s sooooooo carefully politically correct, enabling pathological hysteria about helmets, and causing even 1%ers to reconsider their rules about mandatory rides.
With Victory biting the dust and Milwaukee’s “Made in the USA” mantra devolving to hollow braggadocio, a brother deadpanned, “Well, there’s still Indian.”
That’s tame considering these lines from Motorcycle Madhouse on 4 June 2018 that questioned HD’s “America First” pledge: “The reason so many of us chose to ride Harley-Davidson was that it was an American company…Bikers are supposed to be some of the most loyalist people on earth…[With HD leaving the country]…Maybe this is why new sales are way down.”
O.K., I’m sorry.
I’m just a little OCD about HD and riding as explained in my book about it that nobody’s bought or read.
For me, it’s just another symbol of so much going to everywhere but heaven in America.
I know it’s always been challenging.
Anyone who’s read Genesis knows that.
From the beginning, families have been messed up.
You know the stories.
Even the first family had kids who hated each other.
Adultery, theft, murder, lying, and every other infidelity have been around since the first breaths of Adam and Eve.
So Psalm 13 isn’t an unfamiliar prayer.
“How long,” David asks God in prayer, “am I going to have to endure all of this meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance?”
How long am I going to be hounded and hunted down by Your enemies who are now my enemies because of my loyalty to You?
Are my personal and family and all of the other problems in my life ever going to end?
How long do I have to live with these frustrations, disappointments, disasters, and shattered dreams?
That’s the question of Psalm 13.
Nothing seems to have changed from the garden through David throughout history.
I think of the fellow who asked me, “Does it ever end?”
You could have answered for me: “No.”
Groote aka Kempis wrote a lot about this harsh reality in the late 14th century (Imitation of Christ): “So long as we live in the world, we cannot be without tribulation and temptation…When one temptation or tribulation goeth away, another cometh; and we shall ever have something to suffer.”
Bikers know all about that.
They’re either riding into rain or riding out of rain before riding back into rain because there’s always rain.
Faith does not make us immune to life’s challenges.
Faith is the only way to overcome them.
That’s the good news of Psalm 13: “But I have trusted in Your faithful love. My heart will rejoice in Your deliverance. I will celebrate your eventual rescue. I will sing to the Lord because He has treated me generously. He will take care of me.”
Psalm 13 acknowledges no one is immune to life’s challenges pero rejoices in everyone’s opportunity to overcome them by getting closer to God.
When I was a younger pastor, I went to see James Brown; not the Papa’s Gotta Brand New Bag JB but the JB who was pastor of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania’s Upper Octorara Presbyterian Church.
I went for two reasons: (1) His church was alive and growing and mine wasn’t; and (2) I was feeling pretty depressed about it.
He said, “Nothing can happen through you that has not first happened to you. If you want the church to get closer to God, you start. If you expect nothing from God, you will get it every time! Trust Paul. He said God works for good in everything – sooner or later – with people who love Him. Because you love Him, trust Him.”
Of course, that’s the qualifier.
Increasing trust in God by getting closer to Him.
Again, it’s a choice.
We choose to get closer to God and get blessed by God…or not.
When we’re overly depressed by the circumstances of our lives or feeling distant from God like we’re in the desert not an oasis of refreshment, it’s not His fault.
Charles Spurgeon discovered weather vanes are quite symbolic.
They say two things to us.
The weather changes but God’s love for us never changes.
Whichever way the wind blows, God still loves us.
We just have to dress for the weather.
Like a biker caught in the rain, it means to put on the rainsuit.
Like a traveler in a world with so many twists and turns, it means putting on Christ and never taking Him off because the weather is always changing but His passion for saving us never changes.
How long will we have to wait for the weather to change?
Will it ever stop raining?
Yes, it’s always stopped…before starting again.
That’s why we put on Jesus by the book.
His covering protects us through the storms.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!