For the most part I am usually involved in or leading some type of Bible study. But in those interim periods when I am not, I usually find myself in Psalms. Psalms is one of those books that seems simple & straightforward, but it really isn’t. My most recent reading was Psalm 12. The title of this chapter is “The Faithful Have Vanished”. That sure is a lovely way to start off. I’ll be honest, the language throughout the chapter is kind of depressing…
vs. 1 – the faithful have vanished from among the sons of man (sons of man represents non-believers)
vs. 2 – everyone utters lies
vs. 3 – May the Lord cut off all flattering lips (umm, ouch – Psalm 5:9 & Romans 16:18 both hit on that topic, too)
vs. 5 – the poor are plundered
It just all sounds not so good, huh?
One of the life lessons I have been working hard to instill in my kids is to look for the good. In all the bad stuff that happens, go find the good. The helpers or the laughter or good that could come out of it – whether it is during natural disasters or the type of attacks that are just seemingly plaguing our world.
At 5, almost 6, my son is really starting to notice & ask questions about people’s intentions. Why they do a bad thing? Why was someone hurt? He is also starting to notice death & we have had conversations about heaven & is this person or that person in heaven. Sometimes we know for certain, yes, & other times all we can say is, “I hope so.” I even see it in his prayers as night. He prays for kids in the hospital & for the family of a police officer who was shot. Then he prays for the bad people who shot the police officer: “God help him go to jail so he won’t be bad anymore.” [Sweet, sweet innocence.]
But as he grows up & begins to see things for what they are, I also see his wheels turning. He is a sensitive thinker & pretty serious by nature, so he wants all the details & always wants to know why or how. As he begins to get a grip on our world, I honestly don’t know how to navigate it all the time. I don’t want him to get bogged down in the bad, but I also don’t want to completely hide him from it.
As I was reading all the bad that seems to be in Psalm 12, I remembered something I have been really trying hard to make my son remember: look for the good. There is always good amongst the bad. Just like it is easy for us to focus on the negative or to hear the voices that speak the most negative, there is always good. Think about it. How often do we remember a situation based on the bad? The one small part we messed up, while overlooking what we did right or well? What about the one criticism from one negative person versus all the compliments & wins that we heard about? Or what about all the violence the news likes to show us instead of telling us about the thousands of kids that were adopted into their forever home or the missionaries in Haiti who are teaching & feeding kids & bandaging their wounds? There is a lot of good out there, but we have to search for it by opening our eyes & making a point to see it.
Just like in verse 5 were the Lord says, “I will arise. I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
Or what about verse 6 where we are assured that the Lord’s words are pure?
The chapter ends with verse 8 telling us that “the wicked prowl as vileness is exalted,” but did you search for the words right before those? Did you seek out the good among the bad? Verse 7 says “You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.”
You see, it isn’t all bad. Just like I am trying to teach my 5-year-old to see the good & look for the helpers, we too have to look for the good among what is not so good.