Archive for August 2nd, 2018

Psalm 102: Falling to Pieces

Thursday, August 2, 2018

As we navigate the turmoil of life, and as we work to love our enemies, we might feel as though we are falling apart. THE MESSAGE translation of this psalm gives the prayer this title: A Prayer of One Whose Life Is Falling to Pieces, and Who Lets God Know Just How Bad It Is. Today we might want to spend time with these verses.

God, listen! Listen to my prayer,
    listen to the pain in my cries.
Don’t turn your back on me
    just when I need you so desperately.
Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
    And hurry—this can’t wait!

The words continue, their meaning clear. There are days when life wears us down. Nights when we see no clear path. In our divided world, we set groups against one another while we find refuge with those who agree with our own points of view. This puts obstacles on the path to compromises that might lead to consensus. Although the psalmist wrote these words millennia ago, they pertain today.

My jaws ache from gritting my teeth.

Insomniac, I twitter away,
    mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.

All day long my enemies taunt me,
    while others just curse.

As in the story of Job, the psalmist replies with an understanding of God’s presence, providence, and justice.

You laid earth’s foundations a long time ago,
    and handcrafted the very heavens;
You’ll still be around when they’re long gone,
    threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes.
You’ll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
    but year after year you’re as good as new.
Your servants’ children will have a good place to live
    and their children will be at home with you.

As we reflect on these words, we respond with our own song of praise as we pray.

Strong yet tender God, we go to you for refuge and safety. Steadfast and hopeful God, we rest in the power of your mercy and justice. Healing and transforming God, we know that the conflict we endure asks us to take part in creation’s great turning to goodness. We know that you forgive us even as you forgive our enemies, and for this we give praise. We know that your love overcomes all evil, and for this we rejoice. We know that your compassion restores all damage, and for this we celebrate. We know that even as we fall into pieces . . . we tumble into your loving, healing, and powerful hand. Keeping all of this in mind, and remaining close to you in all circumstance, we rely on you . . . even as we find that we are falling into pieces. Amen.

When we compare other translations of these verses, we better understand that God gathers us in even as we fall apart. 

Image from: https://innolectinc.com/our-vision-and-mission/puzzle-puzzle-pieces-falling-from-sky/

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