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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 107:1732

Some were sick through their sinful ways,
   and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
   and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress;
he sent out his word and healed them,
   and delivered them from destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
   and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

Some went down to the sea in ships,
   doing business on the mighty waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
   his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
   which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
   their courage melted away in their calamity;
they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
   and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he brought them out from their distress;
he made the storm be still,
   and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
   and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
   and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (NRSV)

This psalm depicts people who were so sick that they hated the sight of food and so close to dying that they cried out to God in distress. God heard their cries and healed them, delivering them from destruction. Another group of people were out at sea when a terrible storm came up. They feared for their lives as their boat tossed about in high waves. They, too, cried out to God, who then calmed the storm. The psalmist urges both groups to praise God and “thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for God’s wonderful works to humankind” and to tell others joyfully about God’s mighty deeds.

Even people with little faith, in troubled times, may turn to God and utter a cry for help. But how many of us, even people with much faith, remember to thank and praise God when trouble has passed? I write in my journal more often when I am painfully weighed down than when I feel clearheaded and lighthearted. Once life is going smoothly, we often just move on and enjoy it, without stopping to recognize that God’s Spirit has transformed us and our situation. We are shy about talking to others about God and what God has done in our lives.

A helpful spiritual practice is to take a few minutes at the beginning or close of each day and recall all the things in the last twenty-four hours for which you are grateful, then thank God for them and for God’s steadfast love. Rather than take God for granted, we can be people of joyful gratitude, even eager to tell others of God’s amazing, life-giving presence in our lives.

Loving God, I thank you for your steadfast love and for these blessings in the past twenty-four hours:

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Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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