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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 107:116

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
   those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
   from the east and from the west,
   from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
   finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty,
   their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way,
   until they reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty,
   and the hungry he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
   prisoners in misery and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
   and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;
   they fell down, with no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress;
he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
   and broke their bonds asunder.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he shatters the doors of bronze,
   and cuts in two the bars of iron. (NRSV)

Reflection
Each night before eating dinner, our family—and any guests joining us—hold hands and say something to God that we are thankful for. On most days it is easy to do, but occasionally there are long pauses when someone has had a challenging day. There are times the only thing my daughter can say she is thankful for is pasta, but pasta is pretty amazing!

The writer of Psalm 107 would have felt right at home at our dinner table, because this author knew that we all need to give thanks to God on a regular basis, even on bad days. “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” Being thankful is an active, thoughtful response to what we have around us, and being grateful for something every day is a terrific way to push away anxiety and depression. Just try making a list of ten things you are thankful for and see what it does for your attitude.

The author of Psalm 107 also knew we all face challenges and troubles, writing, “Some wandered in the desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble.” Crying out to the Lord is also an active and thoughtful response, and each of us can trust in God’s love to be there whether we acknowledge and know it or not. God will deliver us from whatever trouble, whatever desert, we may find ourselves in.

Roger Crawford wrote, “Being challenged in life is inevitable; being defeated is optional.” This rhythm of life never ends, nor should it: we face challenges and cry out to God, God delivers us from trouble and we are thankful. But above all, at all times, and in all manner of things, we should remain thankful to God for so many blessings we have, especially pasta.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for your steadfast love that endures forever. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music


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