Praise in the Midst of Fear
A few days ago I told you of my best friend who is suffering from lymphoma. She had symptoms that suggested her chemo wasn't working as we had hoped. And yet we continued to hope, to pray, and to trust.
She had tests done, and she learned this -- there is no evidence of any cancer anywhere in her body!
How's that possible? The symptoms were due to a separate problem that the doctors were able to address. The chemo is doing its job, and she will continue her treatments so she knows she's done everything she can do to knock it out completely. And everyone is praising God! What a difference a day makes! Last week we praised God with tentative optimism and unknowing hopefulness. Today we praise God with tears of joy and a deep peace. The emotion has changed, but the praise remains. Praise God!
Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 102
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
on the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily on the day when I call.
For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
I am too wasted to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my skin.
I am like an owl of the wilderness,
like a little owl of the waste places.
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread,
and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger;
for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned for ever;
your name endures to all generations.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to favour it;
the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold its stones dear,
and have pity on its dust.
The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion;
he will appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their prayer.
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
that he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
He has broken my strength in mid-course;
he has shortened my days.
‘O my God,’ I say, ‘do not take me away
at the mid-point of my life,
you whose years endure
throughout all generations.’
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence.