A cousin of mine who lives overseas posted a meme on social media the other day. You’ve probably seen it. Its a packed-out stadium with the headline “Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in 2021”. While it can cause a chuckle from even this teetotaler, it sent me on a minor deep dive and what I found was alarming. Not only has alcohol consumption seen an incredible uptick, but tobacco closed out one of its best years since the 1980s, insomnia in 2020 got a new name – Coronasomnia, and anti-anxiety medication prescriptions are up at least 34% (the highest its ever been).
One does not have to search long or hard to see the devastating impact of 2020 on many hearts and minds.
While this is in no way a treatise against the right consumption of alcohol, tobacco, an occasional restless night or anti-anxiety medications, it does give pause to wonder what has caused these statistics.
Maybe Psalm 20 is a nice place to look.
Trust in the Name of the LORD Our God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
3 May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
9 O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
Verse 1 and 2 make it clear with “day of trouble” and the need for protection and sanctuary that things are not good. In 9 short verses, the writer expresses that when things get scary and shaky, our hearts look for the place we can put our trust. When there is trust, there is no worry. When there is trust there is no anxiety. When there is trust there is rest. When the world needs trust its going to look to the resources it has or can create that give protection and security – like horses and chariots. Today, we might say our jobs, 401Ks, health, relationships..etc., but what happens when those are gone? What happens when the things we deem untouchable get touched? What happens when we find ourselves waiting for the other shoe to drop and live in fear on what it might drop on?
The writer is clear. We cannot and should not trust in the things that can and will fall. Jobs will come and go. 401Ks will rise and fall just like kingdoms rise and fall. Friends may abandon you and children may stray. The diagnosis might be cancer and the prognosis grim. It doesn’t make the hurt any less, but it does change our posture (v. 8) and it gives us an unshakable source to go to (v. 6).
In shaky times, we crave unshakeable truth. As people surrounded in soundbites, hot takes and constant partisan slants (on both sides) it is predictable that the last remaining place in America for unfiltered truth will not be newsrooms, protected servers, or elected officials but rather the pulpits of faithful churches still preaching Christ and him crucified.
That’s why, Lord willing, I’ll be at church this Sunday. So that, yet again, I can hear the unshakeable, unfiltered, immutable truth about the God who is sovereign over all in the very best company – His saints. I’ll gather with the saints where even the shakiest voice can sing the unshakeable truths in songs, hymns and spiritual songs and then open the bread of life as a faithful pastor feeds the flock with the truth their souls crave.
Soli Deo Gloria