Scripture: Psalm 41 (NIV)

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. The LORD protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. I said, “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?” When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it around. All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, “A vile disease has afflicted him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.” Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. But may you have mercy on me, LORD; raise me up, that I may repay them. I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

When Obi-Wan told Darth Vader he would get more powerful if Vader slew him as they battled on the original Death Star, it had to puzzle the Dark Lord of the Sith (if he gave it much thought). The Dark Side emphasized personal strength, taking what you could by whatever means necessary. How could there be any gain, any value, in laying down your life? Yet Obi-Wan was correct, because without his guidance from the land of the Force, it’s difficult to know whether Luke would have been able to destroy the Death Star, much less find Yoda and become the last Jedi.

The Psalmist today understood what Obi-Wan was saying. Even as he was struck down with illness, with enemies surrounding him, he knew there was One greater that would win the day. God would make sure that Right and Good prevailed. Even if the Psalmist wasn’t there to see it, he would be avenged.

Jesus also understood this. That’s what Christianity is about! Jesus laid down his life, He let His creation kill Him, and His witness and ministry only got more powerful. Because if death had been the end, we’d be a completely different people right now. It wasn’t the end, which wound up transforming the world.

Can we understand this? Can we trust that, even when things are going terrible for us, when the black-cloaked specter in front of us seems to have the upper hand, that God is still there for us? It’s not an easy thing to have faith in the darkest times, but if you don’t have it then, do you really ever have it?

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