From his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16
When pastors emphasize that we owe every breath we take to God, that comment can seem a bit extreme. But each day we receive graces – touches of God’s provision and love – that we don’t even recognize. Perhaps peace has come to us when our hearts have been troubled; an opportunity comes when we never expected it. Maybe a friend has said something kind, not knowing that we needed that touch of affection.
Hope comes to us from … where? We don’t know. Oh, but we do know. “Thank you for your grace upon grace, Lord, seen and unseen.”
©Carol Dean Henn, 2018
O Lord, I am oppressed; be my security!
A newspaper story, decades ago, described a husband and wife who returned to their beautiful suburban home, from a day trip, to see many police cars in the driveway. The wife immediately began to say the Lord’s Prayer, repeating the words incessantly. Every fiber of her being knew that something was sickeningly wrong, even before the police told them that their daughter had been killed. Sometimes, when what has happened to us is so hurtful … when the pain is so unbearable, so overwhelming … all we can do is cry out to God.
“God of might and mercy, be with me when it is completely dark and I cannot imagine living one hour longer with the pain. Be with those who suffer such woe and such heartache. Have mercy on us, Lord; on all who cry out in great pain.”
Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalms are actually song-poems, and they are frequently sung rather than spoken in worship. Most psalms are either songs of celebration and thanks, or they are pleas for God’s assistance and protection. In today’s verse, the psalmist affirms that God’s love is everlasting. It cannot be outlived or negated. The psalmist asks God to remember all that he has created, including his weak and wayward children.
When we quarrel with someone, especially someone close to us, we have these same feelings. We don’t want the other person to focus on the argument, on the angry words that were said. We want them to think about the good times, the positive feelings. Perhaps today’s verse shines light in both directions: We ask God to love us and not forsake us, ‘the work of his hands,’ and we must be open to forgiving others, and not forsaking all the good we have share.
©Carol Dean Henn, 2018