Our friend, whom we will call Diane, stopped communicating with my wife and me. She used to text us several times a day, but now a week would go by without word. Our messages brought no reply. Diane had changed jobs for the third time in eighteen months, and she said that each new job was less fulfilling than the one before. She had entered a dark period of depression. It pained her to communicate. Our attempts to reach out seemed to go nowhere, but we kept trying. We prayed. We waited.
The book of Psalms provides comfort and grace in times of trouble. In Psalm 65 we find solace when we need rescue and restoration. When life overwhelms us and we find ourselves out of sorts, we find the God who listens and wants to bring us into close contact. When we carry guilt for wrongdoings or beat ourselves up for poor decisions, we find the God who forgives. God is worthy of our praise because our God brings restoration to wearied lives. Our God brings us out of our funk. Our God cares and loves us far more than we can imagine.
Diane came around. She began communicating with us again. She responded to our invitation to share lunch together. In our conversation that day while breaking bread, she opened up about her struggles to cope with work and relationships. We listened. We thanked her for being our friend. We thanked her for trusting us with her struggles.
We all seek the solace that God offers when we need rescue from despair and when we need to be restored to wholeness. With patience and prayer, we can find that solace.
Dear God, thank you for your gift of love that showers us with goodness. Amen.
The theme in the readings from the Hebrew scriptures is “abundance.” Joel speaks of the time of plenty in the land of Israel. This abundance is not only physical, for it includes a generous outpouring of the Spirit of God. The psalmist sings of abundant rain that allows the land to flourish. The hills, meadows, and valleys all sing praise to God. Second Timothy 4 contains the scriptural passage that brings us closest to the death of Paul. The apostle has been abandoned by many, but the Lord stands by him as he faces his likely imminent death. In the Gospel, Jesus warns us about the dangers of pride. The Pharisee in the parable thinks his personal goodness brings favor with God, but God desires a humble heart.
Read Joel 2:23-32. How has rain been a sign of God’s impending provision in your life?
Read Psalm 65. How has God’s forgiveness freed you to participate in creation’s joy?
Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18. When has God strengthened you in the face of evil?
Read Luke 18:9-14. What aspect of your life do you need to approach with renewed humility?
Respond by posting a prayer.