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The Face of Difficulty

Psalm 63:1  A Psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah.

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4  So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name. 5  My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips 6  when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7  for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.8  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

This Psalm is set in a context: King David is in an inhospitable environment facing disastrous circumstances beyond his control. His son, Prince Absalom, has instigated a revolt against him, forcing him to flee eastward from Jerusalem through the Judean Desert to Mahanaim, on the other side of the Jordan River.[1] This psalm reflects David’s desire to worship the Lord even though he had been cut off from the temple in Jerusalem.

Here are words of faith in the face of difficulty. They speak of the willingness to praise God in the face of the threat to life:   “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”  This is the discovery that the worship of God is like a rich feast to the hungry; meditation strengthens the weakened hand.

We can discover echoes of Psalm 63 in our own experience: Lent becomes a moment to discover that as we lift our hands in worship the Divine Spirit invades our greatest moments of weakness and gives us strength.    

For Thought:

Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
My lips shall praise thee
Thus will I bless thee
I will lift up my hands
Unto thy name.

© 1962 Singspiriation Music

Words and Music by Hugh Mitchell

The Third Sunday in Lent

Thirsting for God

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 118.

This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.   

[1] 2 Sam. 17:24

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)