Psalm 41

Blessed, blessed, when I remember others before myself
Let me care for and be one of the so-called weak
Let me rely on God to deliver me from troubles
Let me rely on God to protect and preserve me
Let me rely on God to bless me
Let me remember that God does not abandon me to my fears
Let me remember that God sustains me through all woes
Let me remember that God restores me despite any weakness
Have mercy on me, God, heal me, for I am full of sorrow
I feel deserted, maligned, afraid, cast off, alone
Will anyone notice when I die? Will anyone care?
Whom can I trust? Whom can I turn to?
I know that my friends and family deserve better from me
And yet I feel alone and fearful
As if no one cares, as if everyone thinks I am worthless
As if even my best friends have given up on me
Because I have given up on myself
But may You, God, have mercy on me
Raise me up
Remind me that You are pleased with me
Remind me that no enemy triumphs over You
And You are within me; You uphold me
You set me in Your presence forever
Praise be to God from everlasting to everlasting
Amen and Amen.

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A Riff on Psalm 42

What do I know about deer? Only that there are too many of them
They keep getting killed by cars and trucks
But I know about dry and thirsty souls
Feeling that my mind is parched, my soul is shriveled
Was it P, P & M who sang about the woman at the well?
“Jesus met the woman at the well…
She went running, crying, ‘God help me.’”
I’m a woman, dry and thirsty, at Your well of eternal water
God, help me
I can’t say that I cry – even crying is too active
I can’t even say that I am waiting
I’m just kind of hibernating, shriveling, longing
Trying to remember what it felt like to be confident
To feel blessed, under Your protection, Mighty One,
To join others with songs and shouts of joy and praise
It’s not like it was long ago – there are moments, more than moments
When I live even now within that joy and hope and friendship
But then why do I still get so downcast? Why so parched again?
Why so disturbed within myself? Why so hopeless?
Back and forth I go, between hope and despair, between love and loss
“Deep calls to deep”, the psalmist says
“All Your waves and breakers have swept over me”
Some days I feel You with me, some nights I’m content
Your song and prayer fill my life
Then again I start feeling like You have forgotten me
That there is nothing in my life but mourning and regret
Oppressed by my own doubts, feeling more dead than alive
Questioning, doubting, crying, Where are You, God?
Why do I struggle so, again and again? Why is my peace of mind so fragile?
Give me Your everlasting water, that I may never thirst again
And the psalmist tells me
Put your hope in God for you will yet praise God
God, your Savior. Amen.

Psalm 43

I ask You, O God, once again – again and again –
Help me, defend me, save me, here on earth
As You have done for eternity
Save me from deceitful distractions, deliver me from unworthy interests
You are God – mighty over all – so if I can’t depend on You to help me
What hope do I have?
So help me already, I’m tired, weary of walking about as if in mourning,
Weary of feeling as if I am oppressed by an enemy,
When I am my own enemy, always
O God, my God, blind me to the world, blind me with your blazing truth
Let your truth lead me, your beauty guide me
Let me look at the world, let me live my life, as if from atop Your holy hill
As if worshiping always at Your altar
Let me laugh with the joy of Your service; sing with Your praise
(Never mind that I can’t carry a tune; You don’t care so I won’t either)
Stop feeling sorry for yourself, O my soul, stop your grumbling
Stop feeling you need to be something more
Stop regretting you aren’t special, aren’t more talented, aren’t a saint
God wants what you are, not what you are not.
So just put your hope, your faith, your joy, your life in God
Praise God, your help. Amen .

Psalm 44

I remember, or try to remember, what You have already done for me, God
How many times You lifted me up out of depression, despair, doubt
Lifted me to the peace of dry land above the floods of my anguish
How many times You freed me from my guilt and discouragement
I didn’t win through by my own marvelous intellect or serene self-confidence or glowing health
You won through for me
It was Your light that dispelled my darkness
Your face that was the day sun driving down the deep night
Help me, help me, help me again, now and always, today and tomorrow
And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
To remember that You are my King and my God
Through You, in Your name, I live well
Not necessarily happily but well
No human philosophies, no latest remedies can save me
Only You, Only You, Only You
I will give thanks to Your name forever
I have been feeling abandoned, as though You rejected me
Refused to fight my enemies, gave up on me
Left me in darkness and despair, scattered and shattered my peace
So I disappoint myself and others
All day long my disgrace is before me and shame covers my face
I hide in my bed, on my sofa, in my electronic world
What did I do, what did I fail to do, how am I at fault
Did I decide to turn from You? I don’t think so.
Did I reject You, doubt You
(well, yes, OK, I doubted, but that is nothing new)
Come on, God, You know me
It’s not like my doubts and failings are news to You
So, please, please, please, rouse Yourself. Wake up
Take me back, let Your face be my sun again
Don’t forget me, don’t let me sink into the dust of my Ds
Rise up, come to my help
Redeem me, yet again and always, for the sake of Your steadfast love
Amen and Thank You

Psalm 45

Here’s a psalm of joy and celebration; here’s an ode to banished Ds
In You, O God, in faith, in love, my heart overflows
In You I feel blessed forever; You are my strength and my beauty
You give me victory over doubt, despair, depression, darkness, danger, denial, even death
You pierce my heart with love and in that piercing those deadly internal enemies die
Your glory and majesty become my own
Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever
Your justice is Your scepter
You are crowned with righteousness
All of our images, our poor Disney images, of kings and queens, princes and princesses
Pale before the reality of Your everlasting majesty
You are the reality, the rest, even the “real” earthly royalty, are pretenders
Imitators, shadows in this shadowland
But if You are king and we are Your children, then we too are royalty
Through You, because of You
We bow to You and You lift us up
With joy and gladness we are led to You – led by Your mercy
So we enter Your palace, the palace of our King and Father
We are Yours, O King from eternity, King from always, for always
You have made us Your children
We will celebrate Your Name in all generations
We will praise You forever and ever. Amen.