Psalm 11 Reflection – Brienna Waybrant
I trust in the Lord for safety,
How foolish of you to say to me,
“Fly away like a bird to the mountains,
because the wicked have drawn their bows
and aimed their arrows to shoot from the shadows at good people.
There is nothing a good person can do
when everything falls apart.”
The Lord is in his holy temple;
he has his throne in heaven.
He watches people everywhere
and knows what they are doing.
He examines the good and the wicked alike;
the lawless he hates with all his heart.
He sends down flaming coals
and burning sulfur on the wicked;
he punishes them with scorching winds.
The Lord is righteous and loves good deeds;
those who do them will live in his presence.
I’d like to share a personal story that I relate to this Psalm. I recently celebrated my birthday, and 5 years ago I started a tradition of celebrating my birthday by doing random acts of kindness. I do one act of kindness for every year of my age, and it usually takes me a few days to do them all. I thought I would share with you how I started this tradition.
Five years ago, it was a few days before my birthday, and I came across a story in my news feed that left me completely heartbroken. I can’t tell you exactly what the story was now, and it really doesn’t matter, because every day we hear stories about pain and suffering. I’m sure it was a story about a child or animal being abused, because those are the stories that hit me the hardest.
But I read this story and continued to think about it throughout the day. My mind was racing with questions of how can people be so awful and Why is there so much evil in this world? Later that day I was driving home and I just couldn’t hold back the tears. So, I’m driving down the road, doing the ugly cry… and I felt completely helpless and honestly pretty hopeless.
I decided to go to God with my questions. I said “God, why is there so much evil in this world? How do we stop it? And what can I do about it?”
I don’t think I will ever forget where I was at the moment that I asked these questions. Driving down Old Harrisburg Road, right at the spot where the road dips down and there is a cow pasture on the left side, I looked over and saw the evening sun shining down so beautifully on that pasture and I felt a sense of peace come over me.
At that moment, I realized that yes, there is a lot of bad in the world, but there is also a lot of good. And I can’t control other people’s actions, but I can control my own. I can choose to put love and good into the world, and I thought that maybe taking the time to do a little extra good, could in some way help overcome the bad.
Since my birthday was just days away, it seemed like a pretty good way to spend the day. Over the years, people have known that I do this, mainly because I am a photographer and for one of my acts of kindness I give away a free portrait session. I put a post on Facebook and say it’s my birthday, I’m doing acts of kindness, comment to win a free session. But until this year, I haven’t gone into detail or publically shared how I started this tradition.
This year I decided that instead of having people just comment in general, I would ask them to comment sharing one act of kindness that they did that day or planned to do in the next day. It was really awesome to read the things that people shared, and it was a great reminder that there are a lot of good things happening everyday, we just don’t usually hear about them.
I wanted to share this story tonight, because when Pastor Mike asked me a few weeks ago to share, I agreed thinking I have no clue what I’m going to talk about. Honestly, public speaking is terrifying to me, but I thought there must be a reason I was asked. As I looked through the Psalms and asked God to help me, Psalm 11 stood out to me.
It reminds me that God sees everything and His heart hurts too, but He loves good deeds. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels hopeless at times, and I wanted to share this story to remind you of what I have to remind myself all of the time. And that is to believe that despite the bad, there is good in the world, and that the best thing that we can do is be the good whenever we can.