Hope During Suffering

‘Be merciful to me, Lord , for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.
But I trust in you, Lord ;
I say, “You are my God.”
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame, Lord , for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead.
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord .’

Psalms 31:9-10,14,16-17,19,24

Focus: In times of trouble, we might feel lost and abandoned, out of control. Yet God invites us, in these precise moments, to be honest about our suffering and to pray for strength.

Devotional: When I’ve done hospital visits or an employee shares a medical diagnosis, I have turned to this passage for guidance and comfort. I may ask the employee if I can read them this passage and then pray. What I find most intriguing about it is that there is a rhythm and procession to the passage. The writer does not mince their words: “I’m in distress, my soul and body with grief.

Experiencing a debilitating diagnosis or having LONG COVID can be scary and disorient us. We need to be honest about our emotions.

Yet the writer of the Psalms doesn’t stop with emotional distress. There is a turning point: “But I trust in you, Lord”. In the midst of suffering, we have a choice to trust that God is with and for us, or to believe that we are victims and crushed under the weight of grief and distress.

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REFLECT

In what ways are you currently suffering? Is there family member who is sick? Are you experiencing health issues? How might you share with God your true feelings and make a profession of trust in God’s unfailing love?

ACT

Take a moment to meditate on God’s love for you during this time of grief. And pray for someone who you know might be grieving as well.

PRAY

Lord, we offer to you our sickness and dis-eases. We who are feeling distressed call out to you and ask for your strength and comfort to overcome all fear and anxiety. We put our trust in you.

Amen.

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