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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, July 3, 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)

Reading this makes me grateful for age and experience. I have prayed this psalm earnestly in the past, more than once. (I’m thinking of some years in my twenties.) Looking back I can see I was always being held up, God has always been with me. And indeed, those times of trial always came to an end. (I can’t even remember what I was praying about now.)

But it’s hard to see that when you’re in the middle of your suffering. The translation in the Common English Bible reads “How long will I be left to my own wits, agony filling my heart?” And, “Restore sight to my eyes!” My thinking, my vision, is often not clear, especially when I am in pain. This is why I have to ask for God’s guidance, for right sight to be restored.

The psalm also makes me think about the benefits of routine, how having a habit of prayer makes it possible to pray even when we despair of being heard, even when our patience is worn thin. How long? As long as need be. And we are shaped through the waiting and through the prayer.

Lord, grant me the tenacity I need and the willingness to be shown wrong, that I may be open to your molding, to better serve you. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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