Continuing our summer series with this week's Chapel podcast is Karen Gallimore, Director of Campus and Conference Services at Tyndale. Karen reflects on Psalm 27 - a Psalm of patience and prayer in times of desperation.
Karen and her family moved to Canada from Jamaica in 2014. Her background is in Food and Beverage, with an emphasis on Conference and Event Planning; she has been involved in this field for over 25 years. Karen is also currently Co-Chair of Tyndale's Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council (DIAC). She and her husband Wayne are the proud parents of five and she is a self-proclaimed ‘Mama Bear’. Karen loves reading, travelling and spending time in small interesting towns. If conference planning did not work out, she would have been an archaeologist. Her family gives her immense joy!
Greetings, my name is Karen Gallimore and I am the Director of Campus and Conference Services here at Tyndale University. I pray that you will be blessed by this short message, the title of which is: Are We There Yet?
It’s interesting when asked what my favourite Psalm is. There have been several. Depending on what is happening in my life at the time of that question. As children in primary school and Sunday school, we had to memorize Psalm 100, Psalm 23, Psalm 24 and several others. As an adult, I have often gone to the Psalms to try to find one that suits the situation at hand and I am yet to be disappointed. It seems like David was just like us in many of the Psalms. It’s almost as if the goal is to remind the writer and others of the Lord’s steadfast love and to offer encouragement to continue seeking the Lord, trusting Him in all our endeavours. My favourite Psalm at this moment is Psalm 27.
This has been an interesting year and a half. I use the word interesting because it has not all been bad. Do not get me wrong, some days, weeks and even months have been horrific. We have seen just how evil human beings can be. But also, there has been some days, weeks and even months that have caused me to step back, look, reassess my life, reassess my circumstances and fully appreciate my family, friends, co-workers and even strangers.
My devotional this morning started with the question, “How is your patience today?” Did they mean right now? Did they mean after I have my first cup of coffee? Because those can be vastly different answers. Just ask my children and husband. It then suggested finding a quiet spot to sit down, slow down and calm down for several minutes.
This past time has brought me again to the realization, and this is something we know, but clearly, we need to be reminded of repeatedly, that God is in charge! There have been times when there seem to be no hope and then Psalm 27. In verse 1 there is the declaration: "The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strong hold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?"
The reading then takes us on a journey which sounds very familiar–these current times almost force us to have patience, it forces us to pray more because there are insurmountable challenges in our lives that we have no idea how to resolve. David was clearly in a desperate situation. Yet he knew that the LORD is his strength and he reminded himself that there was no need for fear. We have felt desperation. We are in those situations now or have been in in the past. These seasons are supposed to help our patience grow. We have all been there, we have had impossible situations or challenges, we pray for the LORD to take the reins but, it is almost as if we need to add some fine print to our prayer, explaining just how we would like Him to handle the challenge. Almost as if we need to give guidelines. Alas, that is not how it works. We are to confidently hand over the reins and let it go. This is much easier said than done, as we have been jaded by growing up. The childlike trust that is required for us to hand over those reins is hard.
Psalm 27 verses 2 to 3 states: "When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident." Verses 5 to 6 goes on to say, "For in the day of trouble, He will keep me safe in His dwelling, He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD."
We need God in our rest, we need God in our work, we need God in our heartbreak, we need God in our anxiety, we need God in our mundane moments, and we need God in our stress, in our highs and in our lows. We need God. We need His overwhelming peace, we need His wisdom, and we need His ways.
Verses 7-8 says: "Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you “Seek his face!” Your face,LORD, I will seek."
Between the beginning and the end of the Psalm 27, many thoughts are being conveyed. It is like a slow build up which gets to a crescendo and then the calm. That is what this Psalm does for me. When you get to the end and it directs us in verses 13-14, "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
SO...are we there yet? Are you there yet? Am I there yet?
Let us pray: Dear Lord, in the moments when the chaos around me gets to be too much and I feel tempted to give up, I am reminded that you are with me.
I know you are working, even when I feel unseen and one day I will make it through to the other side of what I am feeling right now.
You are a good and gracious God. Nothing is too big for You. I trust and I know You will lead me through whatever I face today.
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