Whether you like it or not, you’re setting an example every day to those you come in contact with. It can be a good example, full of integrity and Christ-likeness…or it can be a bad example, full of worldliness and corruption. I Peter 2:21 tells us that we are an example to the world around us as we follow in Christ’s steps and this means in everyday living and speaking we are to imitate Him…emulating and patterning ourselves in His image.
In Mark 1:40 we find a man with leprosy approaching Jesus. Now according to the Law, this man should have stayed far back from Jesus yelling, “Unclean! Unclean!” and letting Him know that someone ceremonially unclean was in the vicinity. This man…outcast both socially and spiritually, was forced to live outside the city alone with no physical contact with his family, so it was by sheer desperation and hopelessness he boldly came to Jesus asking to be healed. For what did he have to lose? Despair had driven him to the only hope he had…to be healed and then be able to return back to his loved ones. It tells us that Jesus was filled with compassion for the man and reached out and touched him…and he was healed. Have you ever felt like a social and spiritual outcast…alone and lonely? Jesus is there waiting to touch you today.
“Here am I.” It’s a well used statement made by many great people of the Bible when called by God. In Genesis 31:11 when God summoned Jacob, he answered, “Here am I.” and so did Abraham in Genesis 22:1. In I Samuel 3:4 the young Samuel answered God’s voice with, “Here am I.” And when Isaiah was being commissioned, he also replied to God’s call with, “Here am I.” There’s so much meaning within those three little words. It says, “It doesn’t matter what You have for me to do, great or menial, I’m happy to serve You Lord.” It also says, ” I desire to do Your Will Lord, not what I want.” Three little words of submission that force us to set aside ourselves, pick up our Cross, and follow Him.
This conversation happened during The Last Supper…Jesus had just told His disciples that where He was soon going they could not come. So in verse 36, Simon Peter asks Jesus, ” ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.’ ” It happens so often…we catch a glimpse of what God has for us to do and we are impatient…desiring to heed Him immediately. So like Peter, we anxiously query, “Why can’t I follow you now?” But all of our gung-ho enthusiasm can’t measure up to the basic training and discipline we may need prior to God’s nod of approval. Over these years I’ve found one of the hardest words to accept gracefully from God is, “wait.” But I also know in the end any delay is only for my good and benefit.
We are not “acquainted with grief” in the same way Jesus Christ was. When illness, injury, or affliction strikes us…we suck it up, endure, and just live through it, waiting for it to end. But Jesus faced sorrow head-on…knowing intimately what it was to suffer. He very plainly explained to His disciples in Luke 18:31-33 how He would be mocked, insulted, spit on, flogged, and killed…personally taking on and experiencing all the pent-up evil of this world. We taste suffering and sorrow…but Jesus is intimate with them.
Jesus rarely shows up where and when we expect Him to. He usually appears when we least anticipate Him, and always in the most illogical situations…that’s because most of the time, we’re so absorbed in our own little “Ministry” that we forget Him. And it’s almost as a after-thought we ask God to be present in our work…just assuming He’ll show up and be part of it anyway! Our Ministry may be just that…Our Ministry alone… devoid of God’s presence and blessing. For just because we’re doing the Lord’s work, doesn’t mean the Lord is part of it.
In the verses of this Psalm, David is lamenting…he is battling depression…and he is searching. To the Believer, depression may seem as something only non-believers suffer through…but it’s not true. Statistics show 18% of Americans have been or are currently depressed. I myself went through a period of clinical depression years ago when a combination of debilitating emotions, negative thinking, and a sense of sadness overwhelmed me. But what got me through the distress was the awe of God. I clung to His Word as a drowning person would cling to a life-preserver thrown to them. I would recite Scriptures out-loud that God is in me, (Colossians 1:27-28) God is with me, (Philippians 4:4-9) and God is for me. (Romans 8:31) and slowly the hope in God returned… just as we find it did for David later in this Psalm. (Psalm 69:30-36)