Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
Everybody but Miss Hannigan loved little orphan Annie; and there have been times for everyone when we’ve felt like her friends in the orphanage crying out, “It’s a hard knock life for us!...Don’t it feel like the wind is always howlin?...Don’t it seem like there’s never any light?...Once a day, don’t you wanna throw the towel in?...It’s a hard knock life for us!”
Recently, with more than a hint, my wife said my beard is too long.
Wrong thing to say to me if you know what I mean.
If you don’t know what I mean, I’ll tell you what I mean because I dealt with that kinda stuff long ago.
Remember, there were five votes for George McGovern in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania when he ran for the big house in 1972 and my dad said the night après he was creamed by 37, “There were five votes for him in town and I’ve gotta be sitting down for dinner with one of them.”
It could be that Leonard Kopp, the respected burgher of Torgau who packed up the nun Katherine von Bora in a herring barrel so she could escape the convent to become Martin Luther’s wife, is one of my relatives ‘cause the DNA seems about right.
Anyway, I’ll never forget Pearl.
She made an appointment to see me and said immediately before fully seated in the chair across from my desk, “Dr. Kopp, I hate your beard.”
While clergy must have tats on their foreheads inviting such entitlements or fainthearted reputations, I responded with my best Rogerian non-direct care and counsel, “I hear you saying you hate my beard.”
Well, we finally got around to her son having a beard, her being estranged from her son and transferring that pathology to me.
So I said, “Do you think you’d feel better if I shaved it off?”
She said, “Yes, thank you.”
I shaved it off because she said my beard was reminding her of her bad relationship with her son and she couldn’t get into worship because…
Blah, blah, blah…
The next week as I saw her in line to greet me after worship, I anticipated some sugar in appreciation for what I had done for her.
She took my hand, smiled, and said rather sternly, “Now about your
I’ve had a beard ever since.
That’s trivial compared to the larger issues of life and challenges presented by people that want to control us or conquer us if they can’t control us.
Yes, it can be a hard knock life for all of us too often.
Not denying the challenges of health and finances and other important matters to which no one is immune, relational dysfunctions, confrontations and downright polemics are especially burdensome and disconcerting.
Metaphorically, for every little orphan Annie, there’s a Miss Hannigan.
David admits that in Psalm 64: “God, hear my voice. O.K., I’m whining. I’ve got feelings of doomsday and it’s a lot worse than my deodorant not keeping me dry all day along. People are out to get me. They use their tongues as a weapon against me – like poison-tipped arrows. They conspire in secret against me around corners and in closets. It’s a hard knock life for me.”
Still, David, as a believer that really trusts God to save him sooner or later and usually sooner than later and definitely in the end, celebrates Father God’s personal protection of the faithful: “But God will shoot them down for me! God always takes care of people like me that love Him. We rejoice in our relationship with the Lord and take refuge in Him.”
There’s so much being said about what’s wrong with our world, America, churches, families, schools, politics, and all of the below.
Pointing out the problem doesn’t solve it.
Surely, misery likes company and we can all banter and moan about it all and share our sympathies and it won’t make a heaven of a difference.
Pero if we’re looking for a solution, we’ve got Him!
Jesus can save us from ourselves.
He did that for our souls by grace through faith in Him; so it’s not a stretch to say He can do it for our world, America, churches, families, schools, politic, and all of the below.
Do we really want to bring civility back to our government?
Do we really want to protect the unborn?
Do we really want to counter gun violence?
Do we really want to restore Biblical ethics to family and marriage?
Do we really…?
If we really want to make anything better, we can through Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit that never contradicts Jesus by the book.
We can, as the song goes, build a beautiful city!
The city of God according to the Word enfleshed in Jesus, explained in Holy Scripture, and enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
I’ll never forget the little girl that said to Harold, “I don’t understand people. They can be so mean.”
They are…by nature.
It takes being born anothen to put away those selfishly immature character traits for the fruit of intimacy with Jesus like mercy, grace, and forgiveness wrapped in agape.
Because not everyone is like that/Him, it’s a hard knock life for too many too often.
I think of a recent letter that I received from a very sensitive yet strong woman of God who asked, “Why do people have to be so mean?”
She went on to talk about mean-spirited gossip at a local hair salon; and, BTW, with a sister that’s been in that business for almost as long as I’ve been doing what I do, I know the viciousness of those dens of…
Like Facebook and money, hair salons don’t have to be bad unless people using them act badly.
They’re all good until tainted by humanity begging to be born anothen.
O.K., here’s the point.
Some people are going to remain mean and nasty because they’re never going to be born anothen and act like people that are following Jesus; meaning they’re making hell for people around ‘em.
Some people can’t be changed by us because they haven’t been changed by Him.
So what do we do in the meantime?
First, as I remember being told, there are times when it’s better to talk
to God about someone than to talk to someone about God.
Second, lean on Him for support like a buoy in the oceans of life when people are pulling us under.
Third, trust Jesus to sympathize with the hard knocks that are beating down on our lives and know He is the solution here and now and forever.
Remember, it’s a hard knock life for us but God saves.
The world says this and that and the other but God wins sooner or later, usually sooner than later and definitely in the end.
No one is immune to the hard knocks of life.
Erma Bombeck remains right: “If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?”
There are too many Miss Hannigans around.
Anyone can overcome ‘em and live victoriously.
Just take His hand and He’ll pull you out of the pits where they’ll remain long after you’ve been saved.