Hello, my friend. Romans chapter 5 is one of those great treasures of Scripture. It teaches us that, being justified through faith we have these six blessings: peace, access to the Throne, grace, joy, hope and glory. And I am always impressed how peace often comes early in any listing of God’s blessings, as in Galatians 5:11, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace…” or in Romans 14:17, “The kingdom of God is ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Who can ever adequately measure the blessing of God’s peace to His children in the most severe circumstances?
Today we look at Psalm 42, a Psalm which in a remarkable way reflects God’s peace to the Psalmist in great distress. I will always remember this Psalm in a special way. Many years ago, as Principal of the Rosebank Bible College, I had the privilege of now-and-then inviting guest teachers. One young man, Leigh Robinson, had lived in Durban, South Africa, before he went to Prairie Bible Institute, where he later became Dean of Students. He married a lovely Canadian girl, Esther, and they had a son Jonathan. They were visiting South Africa, and I invited Leigh to give us a week of special studies in Christian Education. His wife, his sister and her fiancé, brought him to Johannesburg. On their return to Durban, they were hit by a careless driver and Esther and Leigh’s sister’s fiancée were both killed.
We were notified of this on the Monday morning, at the morning break and it was my responsibility to go to his room to inform him. As I entered, he said, “Hi, Monty, what a great time I had with your wonderful student body. I’m so thankful that you invited me to come up here for this sharing. It’s been a great beginning of a memorable week.” I could only stand there, horrified by the news. He said, “Is everything okay? You look strange.” And I could only put my hands on his shoulders and says, “Leigh, Esther is in heaven. She was killed an hour ago in an automobile accident. I’m so sorry!” Of course, he was shocked by the news, but then did a remarkable thing. He knelt by his bed, and began quoting, verse by verse, the 42nd Psalm. You may want to reread this Psalm, with this story in the background. “My souls pants for you, O God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
I could hardly bear listening. It was as if two lovers were in an intimate conversation. He continued on with quoting this remarkable Psalm. Vs.5, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so perturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” I slipped out of the room, feeling it best to leave dear Leigh alone with the One whom he loved most of all. After a while he also came out, face awash with tears, but with a shining radiance. It was a moment to remember. A while later, I asked him how he could have known such a psalm for such an appropriate moment. He said simply, quoting Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden His word in my heart that I might not sin against Him. He is enough!”
“Thank you, Lord, for the wonder of your Word, the privilege of studying, pondering, memorizing and sharing it. Thank you for Leigh and the lessons you’ve taught us through him. Bless my friend alongside and all whom we love.”
Thank you, partner. Cheerio.
These meditations on the Psalms were written by Village Schools of the Bible Founder, Monty Sholund and first published in book form as Monty’s Musings on the Psalms in 2000.