Lenten Devotion: Wednesday, April 8

Psalm 55Psalm 74Lamentations 2:1-92 Corinthians 1:23 – 2:11Mark 12:1-11

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

To my own interpretation, both Psalms 55 and 74 carry a similar message- in times of strife, turn to God! This is a message I have witnessed and received countless times in my own life and, unfortunately, have often ignored. In my work as a Nurse Practitioner with Hospice, I worked with people from all walks of life- rich, poor, liberal, conservative, from every religion and also atheist or agnostic.. Many of these people I accompanied from diagnosis to death and was privy to their most intimate spiritual and existential journeys. Despite the external differences, in their most private moments, there was a theme common to nearly all–the search for sustenance and guidance from a higher power—God.

For believers, there was often initially a “Why me, God?” or a bargaining, “I promise to pray hard/ be a good person/give more money away etc. if You will make me well.” There were unanswerable questions of “the meaning of life”, there was anger at perceived unfairness but there was also thankfulness and grace. My role was not to give advice or answers but merely to provide physical and emotional comfort as best I could as they walked their journeys. Believe me, I gained much more than I could ever give in this work. It was a profound privilege to walk beside people in their evolution to a place of acceptance and surrender—of true faith. Even of those who had professed to be atheists, many sought hard to realize some sort of assurance in a higher power and, and in doing so, found their peace.

In the news today, there is more unrest and discord than I could ever imagine. We are bombarded on a daily basis by hatred and violence, of dishonesty and injustice. As did David in the Psalms, sometimes I, too, just want to escape, to run and hide. Of course, this is absurd because our tribulations follow us wherever we go. Also, if we put our heads in the sand, we are completely ineffectual at evoking the necessary change. There is no easy answer. In reading scriptures such as these, however, I am reminded of something I know truly and deeply in my heart. If I just pause and “call to God”, I will find that He is there. He has always been there- not to rescue or change our surroundings, but to provide unending guidance and support. He is there to help us through this life that is certainly troubled but also has a foundation of love and beauty, of joy and happiness. In changing our focus, we can often find healing of a more profound nature. We need only ask.