Thursday, August 2, 2012
A couple of months ago I sat in church listening to the readings. As is usually my tendency, I blanked out during the reading of Psalms only really paying attention to the music. Every Mass, Psalms is read and I never take anything away from the text. Through the years, I have read a chapter here and a chapter there, but I have never read the whole book or studied the words. The time was now. I talked with my mother-in-law. She suggested I read along with the daily church schedule. I liked the thought, but this would take me forever to get through the entire book. Instead, I went to our local Catholic store. They ordered a book. Unfortunately, the book only studies bits and pieces. I decided to do the study guide, but in between the chapters I would read the chapters they left out.
While reading the Bible daily, I don’t always connect with the passages. For the last three readings, the words have danced across the page in beautiful visual poetic style. I have learned but not connected. Last night I finally did bond with a chapter. The section is entitled “Prayer in Time of Illness.” The other day when I blogged, I talked about the bad day I had due to my illness. What a fitting psalm for me that I will turn to many times from now on.
“How long, Lord? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I carry sorrow in my soul, grief in my heart day after day? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Psalm 13: 2-3. I want to note the word enemy that is used in this passage. For me the enemy at the moment is my back pain. Replace the word with the suffering you have to overcome. In our dark days of dealing with sickness, loss of a loved one, or any number of struggles/sufferings, we can feel so far away from God. We call out in pain. We are lost and alone. I can relate to this feeling just like I felt it earlier this week.
We need to keep talking to God though he seems hidden. “Look upon me, answer me, Lord, my God! Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed,’ lest my foes rejoice at my downfall” verses 4-5. Keep the dialog open with Him. I know it demands His attention and sounds like a two-year-old; yet, God knows we feel this way why not give voice to our feelings. I have prayed like this many times. “I need help NOW God.” “I want you here NOW.” I know; who am I to be so insistent? I am His daughter. Instead of waiting around feeling sorry for myself, I am going to take action. “Look upon me, answer me, Lord, my God!” This is heartfelt.
Verse 6 wraps up the prayer. “I trust in your faithfulness. Grant my heart joy in your help, that I may sing of the Lord, ‘How good our God has been to me!’” Notice, the illness hasn’t been removed. In fact nowhere does the text ask to be cured. Instead, we are trusting God will stand beside us. He will show us joy if we are faithful to Him. He will lift us out of our despair and give us strength to carry on with our job of living which includes suffering here on Earth. He can show us that there is much to be thankful for.
Blessings to you all.