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Friday, June 7, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
     You gave me room when I was in distress.   
     Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?   
     How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
     the Lord hears when I call to him.

When you are disturbed, do not sin;   
     ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,   
     and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, "O that we might see some good!   
     Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!"
You have put gladness in my heart   
     more than when their grain and wine abound.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace;   
     for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. (NRSV) 


Reflection

A popular proverb says that a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind. If this is true, a peek at my desk—my entire office, really—raises some serious concerns about the state of my mind. I wonder if my brain is truly as cluttered as my desk always seems to be. I wonder what my ever-growing to-do list and stacks of books and papers teetering on the brink of collapse say about my life. Am I really this overburdened, hemmed in on every side by pressures that will not relent?

If I am honest with myself, I must admit that sometimes my desk does indeed mirror my life. And whether you have a desk or not, you may feel the same about yourself from time to time. It’s easy to feel trapped or smothered by our high pressure jobs, busy families, demanding relationships, high expectations at school, and a whole host of other stresses. It’s easy to feel claustrophobic in a city of skyscrapers and traffic jams and never-ending noise.

While these contemporary pressures may not be exactly what the psalmist had in mind in today’s psalm, this prayer for help in trouble speaks a word we all need to hear. Our psalmist characterizes salvation in terms of God relieving this sense of being trapped. “You gave me room when I was in distress.” In the midst of chaos, God provides room to be free and unburdened, sacred space to be with God and escape the things that assail us. What a hopeful promise—and what precious real estate!


Prayer

Gracious Savior, give me room when I am in distress and help me to make the most of the freedom you give. Amen.


Written by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry


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