8–14 September 2019.
As a foreigner, it’s interesting to see how important guānxì, or good connections, are in Taiwanese culture. There is a lot of wisdom in this. Each of us knows how unstable life can be and how hard it is to get through life’s challenges without the support of friends. Having good connections can help us to face a lot of troubles. They give us hope, and remind us that we don’t need to go through life alone.
But sadly not everyone has good connections to draw on. It’s hard for us ordinary people to get to know society’s great and important leaders. And even if we did, there’s no guarantee that they would remember us, care about us, or help us when we are in trouble.
Thankfully God is different. Psalm 146 praises God because God is more dependable than any social connection we could have. God is the best friend we can make. Even presidents and politicians are still limited in what they can do, but God’s love for us is unlimited. Verses 5–6 encourage us to have joy in God, trusting God as our creator, helper, and greatest friend. A person’s heart changes, and their friendship changes with it; but God never forgets his promise to care for us. And whereas many of society’s leaders only open their doors to the so-called “important people” of this world, God especially welcomes and cares for those of us so often left behind by society. God brings fairness and justice to the weak, helping the poor and hungry, the sick and imprisoned (vv. 7–8). God sets us free from the traps and dead-ends we find ourselves in; he brings us healing, and he lifts us up when we feel crushed by life. In a world where people close their doors and their hearts to those who are different, God especially loves the immigrant and the stranger, and God supports them in their lonely struggle to survive (v. 9). God cares for orphans and widows, and for all those who feel like they have no family and no good social connections to draw on (v. 9).
This world’s rulers and its “important people” will always let us down; that’s natural, because they are only human. But what a friend we have in Jesus! He is our never-ending supporter, and our faithful friend. There is nothing better than the relationship we can have with him.
So no matter what troubles you are facing, share your worries with him today – and praise him for always being here for us.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis