From: Katie Van Zanen
In Psalm 68, we find a paraphrase of the benediction: “may God make his face to shine upon us,” some of the first words of Scripture I was ever taught. But when I learned it, there was a full stop after that first person pronoun. In Psalm 68, there’s a dependent clause: “that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.” God’s people are petitioning God directly, asking for a blessing that does more than just make life easier, make them happy. They ask God to bless them so that God’s way is known.
That’s not usually on my mind when I ask God for good things.
I’m sure I need to learn to accept God’s gifts in stillness. But I also need to accept God’s gifts as supplies, provisions for the work God has set out for me to do.
I spend a lot of time asking “why?” and “for what?” It’s an exhausting question, when I turn it on acts of violence and geopolitical crisis. But it’s a question that has been answered in my life in surprising ways. I want to ask more often: why am I being blessed in this way? For what purpose have I received this gift? For what might God be equipping me? How can I turn what I have received into another gift, that God’s way may be known upon the earth?
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, so that…
I am a voracious reader and writer. I live in Lynn with my husband, Nathan, and teach First Year Writing at Boston College.