Lenten Devotional: March 30

Psalm 69: 1-38; Psalm 73; Jeremiah 22:13-23;
Romans 8:12-27
; John 6:41-51

Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
3 I am weary with my crying;
my throat is parched. Psalm 69

When I read the psalms of lament—those that are angry and gloomy such as in today’s readings—I think “well that’s a bummer! Why all this anguish and moaning in the Holy Scripture that should be lifting me up?” Why? Because it’s true and it’s honest. Believing in God’s loving grace does not avert the suffering that life can bring and the anger and dejection that can follow. Even Jesus cried out in despair on the cross. Even he felt separated from God and, with his last breath, spoke words from a psalm of lament: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22).

Although the psalmists of the Old Testament speak of much agony and misery, they never seem to doubt that God can save them, if they ask. This is where I find the virtue of these psalms. I see that they do, indeed, have something to offer. We can learn from their example to fully and freely express our sorrows and fears, to call out believing faithfully that God is listening, and to trust that God will be with us to lighten the darkness and give us strength and solace when we are struggling. They teach that we, like the writers of these psalms, must keep reaching out to God, most especially when we feel the farthest from his grace.

32 You who seek God, let your hearts revive.