Change of fortune…

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Psalm 44:9 Yet you (O God) have rejected us and abased us, and have not gone out with our armies. 10 You made us turn back from the foe, and our enemies have gotten spoil. 11 You have made us like sheep for slaughter, and have scattered us among the nations.

Whoa – what? Our passage begins at verse 9. The writer spent the first 8 verses praising God for his faithfulness to the people over many, many years. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, come 18 verses of lament against God’s judgment. The Good Shepherd has “made us like sheep for slaughter”. Wow.

Two things strike me today about this passage:

1. While I realize this turn of events was not likely as sudden or abrubt as the psalm suggests, it is true that the fortunes of life can change rapidly. One day you’re on top of the world, the next day nearer the bottom.

2. It’s often not what we worry about that takes us down, rather it’s the thing we never see coming – a job loss, a grim diagnosis, a relationship blow-up, or other abrupt turn of events.

Next week begins the 79th Master’s golf tournament in Augusta, GA. From his first Master’s win in 1997, I have looked forward to watching Tiger Woods make a run for the green jacket each April. By 2009 Tiger had won 14 major tournaments and looked sure to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins in a career.

And then it all came apart.

Issues in his personal life cam crashing down around him around Thanksgiving of 2009 and, over five years later, his game remains in a shambles. It was reported yesterday that Tiger will play in this year’s Master’s, though expectations are low. Frankly, if he does as poorly as he has in recent months, it could very well be sad. But that’s life isn’t it? You don’t have to be Tiger Woods to see the world turn in a heartbeat.

Lord God, it’s a crazy world we live in. Fortunes can change in an instant. As we anticipate the celebration of Easter tomorrow, give us grace to place our present and future in your hands. For you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.

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