The Lord Will Answer You in a Day of Trouble

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Cheryl McFadden for Sunday, March 22, 2020.

In the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

During this difficult period I have been drawn to the psalms for comfort and reassurance. As I prepared to write this sermon, I read again Psalm 20 which is a prayer for the king’s victory. The first part of the psalm prays that the king will be victorious in battle, and the second gives the assurance that he will be successful. Please listen as I read the first part of this psalm to you:

1The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!

2May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.

3May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices.

4May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.

5May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners.

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

My dear friends, we are indeed in a battle, a battle to overcome this devastating virus. We are in a battle to stay healthy and to protect our loved ones, our neighbors, and all of God’s children. In the next part, the psalmist expresses great confidence by saying, “Now I know.” Please listen as I read the last part of the psalm.

6Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;

he will answer him from his holy heaven with might victories by his right hand.

7Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,

but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.

8They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.

Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call.

I have read this psalm daily since the emergence and growth of the coronavirus. It has been my prayer that God help each one of you and all of God’s children. It has been my prayer that he give each of you your heart’s desire, to rid this world of this devasting virus. It has been my prayer that we will shout for joy at the defeat of this virus, and give God the victory, the glory. The psalmist says it beautifully, “our pride is in the name of the Lord our God” (v 7b). We can believe, we can trust that the Lord will help his anointed. God will answer our prayers and petitions from his holy heaven. Thanks be to God!

Our psalm appointed for today also gives us comfort and reassurance. We often pray Psalm 23 when we have lost a loved one. But this psalm, is a great psalm and we should pray it often. It is a song of trust, trust in the Lord who is our shepherd, who restores our soul when we are downtrodden, and many of us may be feeling this way. Every time I hear about the escalating number of cases of coronavirus, I feel downtrodden. When I feel this way, I need to redirect myself to the psalms. I feel great comfort when I read,

4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

My dear friends, when you are feeling low, when you are in despair, think of Jesus as our shepherd. Think of that great marvelous stained-glass window above the altar in our church that shows Jesus standing firmly and holding the lamb. Think of Jesus with his rod and staff to protect and to guide us. Think of Jesus and remember that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life and we will dwell in the house of the Lord our whole life long (v. 6). Jesus will never desert us. He will protect and guide us. We only need to believe. Let us stand up now and proclaim, “Lord, I believe.” Let us stand up, trusting that God will answer us in day of trouble. Let us stand up and trust that Jesus is our shepherd, that he will win the battle, and that with his rod and staff, he will protect and guide us. We are God’s anointed. We are God’s holy ones, his beloved and Jesus is here, right now, to protect and guide us. Amen.