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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 13          

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
   How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
   and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
   Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
   my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I trusted in your steadfast love;
   my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
   because he has dealt bountifully with me. (NRSV)

“Fools for Christ’s sake”—that was part of the Prayer of Confession the Sunday I wrote this.

While there’s a lot of context to that line, there’s a lot of truth as well. Faith can cause us to do foolish things. We pray to someone we’ve never seen and something we can’t really explain. We believe that the Son of God was miraculously born two thousand years ago, turned water into wine, and then came back to life three days after dying on a cross. It’s all rather questionable.

Psalm 13 puts words to this disbelief. The majority of verses are filled with despair and hopelessness. “How long must I bear pain?” “Will you forget me?” “I am shaken.” We’ve all been there—when a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, when we’ve struggled in our career, or when a friend’s child is hurting.

Yet the last two verses turn that perspective around and remind us of the power of faith. Instead of lament, there’s hope. That’s something I think we can all relate to as well. We experience God’s love in the unconditional love of a parent or partner. We witness Christ’s work when we come together to tutor a student, serve meals for the homeless, or support a family of refugees. We feel God’s love when a friend walks along beside us and provides advice or simply just listens.

When we are filled with questions, pain, or doubt, someone reminds us of God’s presence. When someone hurts, we respond. In doing so, our lives and the world around us are transformed.

While it may seem foolish, it’s ultimately the power of our faith.

I give thanks, O God, for your steadfast love. Help me to make that love and your abiding presence known to those I encounter this day. Amen.

Written by Mark Nelson , Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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