Have you seen those Cosmo-like BuzzFeed quizzes making rounds on the Internet like Which Downton Abbey character are you? If you’re not on Facebook I’m not sure you have, but if you answer a handful of questions, they tell you which character (city, dog, cereal, etc) you most closely resemble.
I’m Carson from Downton Abbey, Tyra from Friday Night Lights, Slater from Saved by the Bell. I should live in Paris, work as a Professor and am actually a Shiba Inu. Because let’s face it, Carson and Slater remind me so much of each other. But seriously, wouldn’t you just DIE if Carson ever called Mrs. Hughes “hot momma?”
Maybe all of these were on my brain when I read a chapter from Psalms the other night. It was near bedtime, the kids were actually playing nicely with one another and I was bored. I’m not in the midst of reading a book, so I felt the nudge to pick up my Bible that was still sitting on my desk from church on Sunday.
It was like a BuzzFeed quiz popped out at me as I read.
The anonymous author calls for those Redeemed of the Lord to give thanks and then proceeds to describe 4 pictures of people before they were redeemed. I know that phrase “Redeemed of the Lord” is pretty churchy, but I love it. I love that my Redeemer redeems and I am redeemed! Here are the four types of people that need redemption of some type from Psalm 107.
The first profile of a Redeemed of the Lord is a person that wanders aimlessly in the desert, not on any path, and completely hopeless. They don’t know where they are supposed to be going and have no purpose in life. In other words, these people are lost. They don’t know God, but they also know their life isn’t working either.
The second profile of someone Redeemed of the Lord describes someone depressed, rebellious and addicted. They are held in chains to labor and there is no one to help them in their distress.
Don’t let the traditional drug and alcohol addictions be the only thing you think of here. Our culture has so many addictions today—TV, celebrity, food, sports, shopping, etc.
The third profile is that of the reckless. They are fools in their rebellion and are suffering the consequences. These are people that know what they’re supposed to do, but they just aren’t doing it. They’re wild and free and careless, but are now watching their lives fall in ruin around them from their unwise choices.
The fourth surprised me. These are people that are on a path with a destination, are seeing God do mighty things around them, but when a storm comes, they lose their trust in the Lord. They start worrying and flailing about and I love how it says they become at their wit’s end.
Which would a quiz say you are? Has there been other times in your life when you identify with one of these? Do you know people that fall into these types?
Much like the BuzzFeed quizzes, I thought I would be one person going in and then like the quiz revealed to me a different character, the Holy Spirit showed me something different. Even though I thought I was past some issues, he’s revealed to me several areas where I am still “suffering in iron chains.”
I’ve struggled with one type of addiction or another for much of my life. God has been faithful to chip away at those addictions so that my faith and attention are solely on him. But we still have work to do.
Others of you might struggle with being rebellious. You know what to do, but you just can’t seem to resist temptation. Maybe others are clear on your call from God, but struggle to trust him when things don’t go as planned.
Now, the purpose of this chapter is to take a look at these people who are now considered redeemed. These are descriptions of their past, not their present. So what makes the difference? What actions did they have to take to go from being lost, addicted, rebellious and worried? I don’t know about you, but I sure would like some redemption! The answer is the exact same for all of them:
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress. (v 6, 13, 19, 28)
There is action required to be redeemed. When we find ourselves in trouble, we cannot do enough to make ourselves ok. We simply ask him for help.
And then, God does something really cool. For each one, he does something very unique in response.
For the lost, it says he led them by the straight way to a city where they could settle.
For the addicted, it says he brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.
For the rebellious, it says he sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
For the worker, it says he stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the seas were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
I can just not even stand how very carefully, how uniquely, how lovingly he attends to each person. And he does it when they are at the worst times of their lives. Whether they aren’t trusting him or they’re rebelling against him or ignoring him or don’t even know him, he is so ready to answer when we call.
If you find yourselves relating, take time right now to call on him. You don’t have to figure out how to stop your addiction or worrying, you just simply have to call on God and let him know you need help.
For those that have loved ones in these spots, be encouraged that God is the one that does the work. We must pray that they come to him for help. God can do the rest.
For those of you who see yourself like one of these in your past, it says in verse 43 to consider the great love of the Lord. Verse 1 says to give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Yes! He loves us much and is so good to redeem and rescue us!