by Rachel Hackenberg
God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. God determines the number of the stars, and gives to all of them their names. The Holy One lifts up the downtrodden, and casts the wicked to the ground. God covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, and makes grass grow on the hills. – Psalm 147:3-8 (abridged)
I don’t know the names of all the stars, and I’ve never tried to count them. I’m content with trusting that God has done so.
I cannot assemble the clouds or provoke them to rain. I make no claim to a green thumb, and I’m fortunate when a houseplant thrives despite my best efforts. It’s just as well that God sends rain to the grass and rivers to the sea. I certainly cannot.
Yet I have nagging doubts about God’s capacity to cast down the wicked. (See how well wickedness is thriving in the world!)
And I wonder whether God can be trusted with the brokenhearted, considering how many generations pass down the pain of unhealed wounds.
It’s not complicated to praise God’s talents with nature. It’s harder to praise God’s abilities with people. Or maybe I just find it easier to praise God for the kind of work that I can’t control. Maybe I find it difficult to trust God with the kind of work I tell myself I should control. Rain falling, plants growing, seasons changing, rivers flowing—that’s clearly God’s work. But I think I should bind my own wounds so God doesn’t have to, and pull my own pieces together so the Holy One doesn’t waste time lifting me.
Bootstraps really trip up my faith. Still I keep trying to use them.
Great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning. Merciful God, teach me my work and let me love you for yours.