Lent with the Lord's PrayerI have been having trouble blogging this week because our subject is temptation or trials and evil or the evil one. Growing up UCC, I have to admit I missed the whole sin thing and didn't learn about a devil. So here I am with Matthew's version of the Lord's Prayer where God is bringing us to the time of trial. Why would God brings us to a time of trial or temptation? Why would God put us in a place where we would be tested or alternatively persecuted. I have to admit it doesn't mesh with my understanding of God. If God is love, why would God lead us into something that could be harmful. Yeah. Yeah free will. But the passage doesn't say it is my choice to choose trial or temptation and make poor decisions. The passage asks God not to bring us to trial. In seminary at McCormick, I even took a class of Job to get a handle on this and probably came out with even fewer answer than when I began. In Job, we see God as the actor leading Job into a time of trial with no reason. Job was a good man, and yet God caused his family to die, his wealth to disappear, and sickness to strike. God does this to Job. Job's wife tells him to curse God and move on. Job refuses. His friends say he must have done something that led to this. But Job is blameless. Job just wants to hear from God why? Why did you curse me? Why did you do this? And then God speaks, and the answer is even more confusing. For God says can you understand why I do what I do? Look where I go and who I see. I am so beyond your understanding. While stunned by this speech, Job still doesn't receive his answer. Yes, God restores his wealth and gives him replacement children, but he doesn't know why? And maybe that is the point. We can't know why suffering, trial, temptation come to us. There is no easy explanation. There isn't an easy solution. So what can we do?
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh
— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
8 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, take heart.