Scripture: Psalm 118 (NIV)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.” When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Along with movies and TV shows, the new Star Wars continuity has embraced a line of comic books as well. While there’s a main line that follows Luke, Leia, and Han between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, there was also a run that focused on Darth Vader during the same time period. One of the most iconic moments of the new comic history (which began a year ago January) was when the two comics came together for a short crossover story. In this story, Darth Vader has been shot down over a planet and crashed on a Rebel stronghold. Droves of Rebel soldiers come out to take him down, telling him he is surrounded.
Which leads to the following line from Vader:
You will not be surprised to know that Vader then tears his way through all those soldiers, re-emphasizing why he inspired that fear.
Today’s Scripture reminded me of that, though obviously in the reverse. The Psalmist is talking about being surrounded by the nations of the world, nations that want to do him harm. Even as they came at him, though, God protected the Psalmist and drove out his enemies in front of him. He could have said the same words Vader said to those that were attacking him and been right, because he had the Lord on his side.
Being surrounded is something we are pretty familiar with. There are so many times that it feels like one thing after another can hit us. Maybe there are a number of people close to us that die close together. Maybe it’s a financial bill coming on top of a fight with a loved one right after being slighted or passed over for an honor. The world can be intimidating at times, throwing everything at us so we can feel overwhelmed.
God is always there, though, to be the Light in the darkness, the Rock we can stand on to escape the onrushing waters. The old saying is true, “if He leads you to it, He’ll lead you through it.” If we can lean on Him, trusting in His ways, those things that surround us will be routed and we will be at peace. Just call on His name and “He will raise you up on eagle’s wings.”