We have seen the candid laying of distress before the Lord in this psalm of lament; but in the last two verses, the psalm’s mood changes entirely. The psalmist may be impatient and anguished, but the psalm ends in praise.

Verses 5 and 6 speak of trust in the Lord. The psalmist calls upon and is confident of God’s steadfast love and expresses hope in God’s salvation. The psalmist, who seemed impatient in earlier verses, now speaks of a rejoicing heart and dares to sing to the Lord and express gratitude for God’s bountiful dealing.

This psalm is not unique. The psalmist’s laments give voice to every human distress imaginable, but each lament (except one, Psalm 88) moves from distress to praise. The freedom to lay one’s deepest pain and distress before God is linked to the trust that God’s grace will prevail. Thus the psalmist moves confidently from distress to praise.

We sometimes mistakenly reserve our praise of God for mountaintop experiences, the moments when all seems well in our lives—there are psalms of thanksgiving for such times. But praise belongs to the whole of life’s experience if we trust that God is with us in every moment, the mountaintops and the valleys. Some of the most beautiful expressions of praise and trust are from the laments in the book of Psalms.

Prayer at every moment in our lives is grounded in trust that we can lay before God all of our experience. In every moment that we dare to praise God, God’s grace will open new possibilities for our lives.

O God, receive all that we are, all that we experience, and all that we feel. We offer the whole of our lives in confidence that your grace can encompass it all and open new possibilities from every circumstance. For this we praise you, O God. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 10:28-31

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Lectionary Week
June 22–28, 2020
Scripture Overview

The passages this week highlight several different themes. Abraham is put to the ultimate test. There is no denying how terrifying God’s request must have been, yet Abraham ultimately is commended for his faith. We will not face this same challenge, but are there things dear to our hearts that God is asking us to give up? The psalmist is in deep despair and weary from awaiting God’s deliverance, yet even now there is confidence. Paul continues to instruct the Romans about the necessity of living a new life, no longer being slaves to the desires of the flesh. Jesus teaches that when we receive those doing his work, we receive him. When we interact with pastors, missionaries, and even nursery workers, do we treat these servants as Jesus himself?

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Genesis 22:1-14. What has this familiar story meant to you in your faith? How do you embody or struggle against this type of obedience and trust?
Read Psalm 13. When has your lament allowed you to move from anger with God to praise? How long did that process take?
Read Romans 6:12-23. How does the definition of death as a life cut off from God rather than a biological reality change your understanding of this passage? How might incorporating this definition of death change your life?
Read Matthew 10:40-42. Who is in your wider community of witnesses? How does their example prompt you to turn to others in service?

Respond by posting a prayer.