Today’s Readings for the Daily Office
Psalm 16, 17 (Morning)
Psalm 22 (Evening)
Jeremiah 38: 14-28
1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
Matthew 11 1-6
Hearts of Wax
In many psalms we hear the writer’s painful cries of lament, waiting for God to show up. The intensity of pain in Psalm 22, however, is searing. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” — the same words Christ spoke as he was dying. “Why are you so far from helping me?” the psalmist cries. How desolate s/he must have felt! And feeling so beaten down by the surrounding forces as to feel less than human — now “I am a worm.” I think back to my lowest moments of despair; the psalmist’s words touch a memory when I felt weak, my self shrinking as the world slowly swallowed me — “many bulls encircle me…they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.” Have you ever experienced that? How beautiful the description of even that bleakest feeling! “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast.”
But amazingly, the psalmist does not waiver in the belief that God will rescue her/him! We don’t hear anger or impatience. (I admit I was not so good about that part!) At this most intense moment, when not only the world has turned on the psalmist, even God has seemed too far away. Throughout, the writer trusts. Trusts!
A wonderful definition I latched onto long ago was of trust simply meaning predictable behavior. That sounds rather detached, yes?! But when I pay taxes, I trust the police and fire departments will respond. When my husband tells me he will pick up our son from school, I predict his behavior will result in my son getting home. This psalmist’s faith is so great, God’s behavior is predictable! There is no doubt!
If we can hold on through the searing pain of perceived abandonment, if we can muster the trust of God’s behavior, then as sure as Psalm 23 follows 22, our melted hearts will be restored with the graces of still waters and green pastures.
Written by Bernadette Reda
Bernadette is a writer, mom, wife, grandmum, and communication scholar who finds inexhaustible joy and humor in her dogs, nature, music, writing and fixing small appliances while gleefully torturing loved ones with bad jokes.