Lifted Up

Key Texts: Psalm 30:1-3

I will exalt you, Lord,

   for you lifted me out of the depths

   and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

Lord my God, I called to you for help,

   and you healed me.

You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;

   you spared me from going down to the pit.

As I write these words, there is a raging thunderstorm outside my door.

The temperature, which had been hovering in the nineties earlier today, has probably dropped at least twenty-five degrees in a couple of hours. The lightning is coming fast and furious and the lights have already flickered on and off. Soon, I might be writing in the dark.

It seems like a good time to write about how God can lift us out of the depths and the realm of the dead.

It’s funny how most of us can go happily about our business, self-confidant, strong, ready to take on the day – until – CRASH – the lightning and the rains come, then the flood waters, then down we go into a pit that is dark and we think, “Is this it? Is it over?”

I’m not talking about a literal storm or flood necessarily, but you get my point.

We are so fragile really. For all our bravado, we are so fragile.

So, it’s good to be reminded by the Psalmist that God is our strength and refuge, always.

It’s good to recall that there is no storm so great, no pit so dark or deep, that God cannot reach us there.

There is no sin, either, that is so great, so dark or deep, that God cannot reach us there too.

As the Apostle Paul said so well, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, take cover, not just physical cover from an evening thunderstorm, but spiritual cover as well.

Allow yourself to be shielded under the loving care of God.

Go there, rest there, find peace there, no matter what the weather outside is doing.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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