Scripture: Psalm 119:73-96 (NIV)
Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts. May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes. May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame. My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law. All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause. They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth. Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.
You can feel the angst and the pain that the Psalmist has in today’s lesson. He was being beset by enemies and he wondered when God was going to see fit to step in. Yet even while he was suffering, even when he was wanting to see a direct action from God, he didn’t stop trying to learn about God. He kept meditating on the Word, trying to find new meaning, new direction, new hope for his life and his situation.
We don’t know exactly what went on while Obi-Wan spent almost two decades in exile on Tatooine, watching over the young Luke Skywalker. (We may get a little glimpse on this Saturday’s episode of Star Wars: Rebels, a current cartoon series running on Disney XD, and there have been a few references in some recent comic books, but nothing much.) You had to figure that he often felt down and depressed about this whole situation. After all, the galaxy was being oppressed and he was hiding out in a desert planet that had nothing going for it save the little bit of hope he was to watch over. Still, he trusted that the Force had him where he was supposed to be and continued to learn about the Force and its teachings, most notably the ability to join with the Force after death.
We have those deserts in our lives. They can be times of hardship. They can be times of grieving. They can be times where we just don’t have the connection to God that we know we should have or that we’ve had in the past. The drought in our lives can be the end of us if we let it. However, the Psalmist says “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” We have to keep plugging, keep trying, keep trusting, keep praying through these times, until we come through into the oasis of living water that is waiting for us on the other side.