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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, August 4, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 145:14–21

The Lord upholds all who are falling,
   and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
   satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
   and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
   he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
   but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
   and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever. (NRSV)

Reflection
This psalm is a beautiful reminder of God’s constant presence with us—particularly God’s presence in suffering.

I was listening to the podcast On Being the other day, and on it Sheryl Sandberg was sharing about her experiences of isolation right after her husband suddenly died. She noticed how her friends and neighbors didn’t know how to handle her grief. They didn’t know what to say and were so afraid of “reminding her” of her husband’s death (as if she could ever forget), that they didn’t say anything at all.

After the funeral and period of mourning, she found herself alone when she needed support. She also noticed how she had reacted the same way in response to her friends’ grief earlier in her life too. She later learned how important it is to just have someone acknowledge what she’s going through: not try to fix it, but just sit with it.

It is such a human tendency to shy away from suffering. Something so amazing about God, though, is that God goes there. God knows suffering, experiences it, and is there with us—holding us, loving us, acknowledging how we feel, supporting us in it. Sandberg did describe how her Jewish community surrounded her during her period of mourning, which also gave her the courage to reach out for help too. Whereas God is always with us, especially in our suffering, God works through our community as well.

So how can God use us today to accompany someone who is suffering, to resist the urge to turn away or fix? If I’m suffering today, how can I turn to God and my community for help?

Prayer
Grieving God, lead me to your holy and loving presence in the midst of suffering. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident


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