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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 71:1–6

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
   let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
   incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
   a strong fortress, to save me,
   for you are my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
   from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
   my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
   it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you. (NRSV)

We will never know what threat this particular psalmist was facing, but in some ways the specifics don’t matter. His or her voice is all of our voices when we are in times of trouble. We seek refuge in the storm, a constant in the chaos, and hope in the midst of hopeless situations.

Tragically, our world today is filled with such situations—families struggling to feed their children, patients receiving frightening medical diagnoses, civilians caught in the crossfire of war, refugees uncertain of where they’ll be able to rest their heads tonight, and far more. We have all known tragedy and hurt, whether it be firsthand, family or friends, or from strangers whose stories we have heard or seen. It is into a world of need that we too cry out like the psalmist, “Deliver us and rescue us; incline your ear to us and save us!”

Though we largely only speak about God’s presence during times when we feel blessed, this psalm nevertheless powerfully asserts that God’s presence isn’t with us for a season or two but our entire life long. Written from the perspective of someone in their later years of life (see verse 9), the psalmist speaks of God’s constant presence from the psalmist's birth to the present and beyond. Though there will be seasons in our lives when we can do little more than lament, God’s presence even in tragedy reminds us that we are never truly alone. For that, we can be thankful.

God of refuge and comfort, help me to know you are with me even when I cannot feel your presence, even in those times when it seems you are silent. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

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