by Pastor Michael Salemink
What a joyful, hopeful theme! Psalm 41 invites us to delight in one another: “Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.”
Our considerations of the sanctity of life don’t need to proceed with fear. Our conversations about abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and other measures that use death as a solution don’t need to operate with anger. We do live in a culture that often treats neighbors and bodies like burdens. And this Psalm does honestly acknowledge the difficulties of life-issue situations like surprise pregnancy, terminal diagnosis, abandonment, and poverty. In fact, it affirms that human sinfulness exposes every one of us—and not just those the public perceives as disposable—to sickness, weakness, discomfort, and death.
But the Gospel telling of our Savior’s last hours explicitly cites this Psalm (“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” John 13:18ff.). God’s compassionate grace takes on our sufferings as His own. Our Heavenly Father remains active and almighty especially in the difficult circumstances that life issues involve. In joining Himself to us with His incarnation, wisdom, power, atonement, and resurrection, Jesus makes every human life blessed—and a blessing! He lovingly and ably handles decisions about welfare and affliction, life and death, so that we don’t have to do it on our own.
Now we get to receive and enjoy our times and our lives as blessings. And we get to do the same with the gifts and privileges that each of our neighbors embodies, from unborn to elderly and from fertilization to forever. The Lord our God has blessed us for the purpose of life, and He has blessed us for the duration of life. So, let’s partake in the blessing of proclaiming God’s truth and putting Christ’s love into practice, even as the Psalmist himself does!