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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, May 8, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
   and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
   and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
   restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
   and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
   his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
   but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
   “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
   you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
   I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried,
   and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
   if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
   Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
   O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
   you have taken off my sackcloth
   and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
   O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever. (NRSV)

Psalm 30 speaks to the pain and suffering of life. It also speaks to the joy and peace we feel when we come out the other side.

In Christian terms, we believe that our lives are patterned on Christ’s—from death to resurrection. Just as Jesus begged for God’s help and mercy in the Garden of Gethsemane before the crucifixion, so we beg God to help us during our times of suffering. Just as Jesus experienced a form of new life in the resurrection, so are we made new by entering into our times of suffering with faith and trust.

Interestingly, we do not know how long the psalmist suffered before he could say that “joy comes with the morning.” We may need to persevere a long time before we can say that we are “clothed” with joy. There is nothing easy about trusting in God’s presence even as we experience God’s absence. Yet our faith asks us to do so.

God of light and darkness, God of all, grant us the strength to call on you when we feel abandoned. Grant us the faith to trust in your presence even when we do not feel it. May we give you thanks and praise at all times, knowing that you are with us. Amen.

Written by Margaret Brennan, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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