Interlude: Songs of Hope

As a Christian, I care about AIDS because of my faith.  I care because I believe God cares.  But it can be so easy to get overwhelmed, overpowered by the pain, the tragedy . . . overwhelmed even just by the details of everything you think you need to know to understand the issues.  At such times, it’s necessary to step back and look at the bigger picture of God and the world, and to pray, and to be thankful that God is good and doing good things, and that He is ultimately in control.

I’ve been sitting here for a while, thinking about some of the grim realities and terrible choices the HIV/AIDS pandemic brings before us.  Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to the psalms.

There’s an Australian music group called Sons of Korah that takes words from the biblical psalms and sets them to some of the most beautiful and eclectic music I’ve heard.  I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to some of these ancient poems set to twenty-first century melodies, but they never get less moving.  Anyway, the words from a few of the songs/psalms really jumped out at me.  They reminded me that AIDS and its horrors don’t rule the world, that HIV isn’t the biggest or most important thing around.  God and His beauty remain, and they are good — He is good.

The following words from the Psalms reflect the hopes and prayers of countless believers over the course of millennia.  The human emotions haven’t changed, nor has the character of the God the Psalmist speaks of and to.

Yet I am always with you;
       you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,
       and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
       And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
       but God is the strength of my heart
       and my portion forever.

                                   – Psalm 73:23-26(NIV)

Many, O LORD my God,
       are the wonders you have done.
       The things you planned for us
       no one can recount to you;
       were I to speak and tell of them,
       they would be too many to declare. […]

[M]ay all who seek you
       rejoice and be glad in you;
       may those who love your salvation always say,
       “The LORD be exalted!”

Yet I am poor and needy;
       may the Lord think of me.
       You are my help and my deliverer;
       O my God, do not delay.

                                   – Psalm 40:5, 16-17(NIV)

Thank you, God, for your love for all those who are affected by HIV/AIDS.  Thank you for successful treatment, successful prevention.  Thank you for the beauty of the earth and for daily moments of joy.  Thank you for all kinds of evidence of your care.  Thank you that PEPFAR money will help millions of people.  Help us all — sick and well, poor and rich, deeply touched by AIDS or looking in from the sidelines — help us remember your presence even in the darkest places.  Guide us, please, so we can do your will.  And thank you for your rescuing power, providing life even in death, for all who trust in you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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~ by h.e.g. on July 27, 2008.

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