Friday, March 12, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 3/12/10

Christ in Glory With the Saints, Mattia Preti, 1656

“Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.”
Psalm 6:2-4

For how long O Lord…

There are few that the world leaves alone to live their lives in peace and comfort, in solace as a life of quiet surrounds them. There are few who are left to their own devices, finding that the world does not touch them but rather lets them be. Amidst our lives there are times of trials and tribulation, as it just seems as if fate is conspiring against us, as if there was this unseen, intangible force that moves around us and about us to plot our fall, to plot our demise. It lingers in us as it shapes us and tries to define us in the adversity and the struggles that we face.

For how long O Lord…

Our spirits grow weak, our souls are weary, as they grow heavy as the weight just seems to crush down on them. Our hearts break and our minds wander to dark places of hurt and sorrow. We are desperate, longing for some sense of peace, for some sense of comfort, for some solace as the moment seems to be upon us. We wonder why the world has to be this way as we look for answers so desperately and yet they can’t be seen, they can’t be found as we feel like we are wandering in a state of spiritual Diaspora, exiled to a wilderness of the soul, searching once more for a home.

For how long O Lord…

Does this have to be life? Does this have to be the world that we live in? Does it have to be so full of pain and hardship? Does it have to be a existence where captivity and bondage, whether it is of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul, comes so easily to hit us, to hurt us, leaving us lost and broken, weakened by the onset of time that just seems like it is far too much for us to bear? Do the trials and the tribulation, the challenges and the hardships need to always be before us?

For how long O Lord…

For how long do we have to wander? For how long do we need to look at this world and see all of the pain and the suffering that it is capable of? For how long do we have to wait on the Lord’s mercy and compassion as we cry out, yearning for His love to carry us forward from the dark places that we seem to be so trapped in? For how long do we need to see the suffering of the prisoners and the hostages, the slaves and the oppressed? For how long do we need to feel the bondage of our captivity as we find ourselves chained amidst the pain and the suffering, the sorrow and the anguish of this world, so desperate for some lasting sense of peace to guide our souls and mend our broken hearts?

As we read the Psalm of David, as we read the stories that are told throughout the Word of the Lord, we come to realize that we are not the only ones, through the course of human history and human events who have found ourselves asking those questions. As old as the human experience itself, for as long as man has dwelt on this earth, the moments of challenge and adversity have been upon us as we have struggled in a lost and fallen world, searching for some sort of answers, some sort of peace, some sort of end to the hurt that this temporal existence is capable of inflicting upon the hearts and the souls, the spirits and the minds of mankind.

We have asked, over and over again, for how long will this endure? Time and time again we have asked how long will this persist as we have sought to find some form of comfort, some form of solace to guide us from the darkness to the light, to those places where we can be healed and where the difficulties are no longer set before us, weighing on us, crushing us with the tremendous burden that they bring in our lives.

The truth though is that as long as we inhabit this world, so long as we occupy these mortal frames difficulty and troubles are going to follow us. For as long as we walk amidst this corporal plane trials and tribulation are going to be near at hand as we find that they just cannot be escaped. They are going to be there and they are going to load upon us affliction, testing our the strength of our character and the integrity of our spirits.

There is no escaping this truth…

Yet this is not the end of the story….

As the prophets and the apostles, as the saints and disciples, those blessed bands of martyrs who dwelt amidst the greatest of afflictions knew, so too should we.

There is a God of mercy, a God of deliverance who forever contends with the cause of His people. Here He makes Himself known in the love that He shows unto them in even darkest of moments that would so seek to engulf us amidst the adversity and the struggles of this world. We may not see His hand at work, it may seem like it is far off or that we are far too lost in the hidden places of this world, but it is never so distant as to be too remote to reach out and grab hold of us, to touch us and to heal us in the most significant of ways as His ears hear the cries of our lips and His eyes behold the longing of our spirit.

He looks inside of each and every one of us, He sees the places that nobody else can see, and it’s there that we know that His healing touch comes to bear in our lives as goodness and mercy follow us through all of our days.

In all of our lives there are going to be moments of difficulty and pain that give us pause and cause us to question. Yet, when we are weak, when we are at our weakest, then does the Lord sweep in, rescuing us as the flood waters of this world raise up, threatening to engulf us in a sea of trouble. We may ask “For how long?” Yet there shall always be an answer that breaks through to give us the transcending hope that we need in even the most hopeless of situations. “Not for longer than you can bear, and not for long enough that you shall be destroyed, for I shall raise up for you and shall shelter you in the comfort and the peace of my wings as I gird you with the strength of my might.”

Whatever the adversity, whatever the struggle, whatever the challenge or the hardship that is the blessed assurance of the Lord our God as He promises to stand beside us all of the days of our lives.

Be patient, wait on Him and know then that through it all and in it all He shall move about this world and in this world that peace and comfort, that mercy and compassion, that hope and deliverance shall never be far off, regardless of what it is that we may face, regardless of what it is that might threaten to overtake us.

Blessed be His love for that… blessed be His Divine and Holy name for that love…

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

First Prayer:

Through all of our trials, through all of our tribulations it is You, O Lord… it is You whom we shall turn to as the rock and the refuge of our strength, that, by Your holy hand, we shall be guided from adversity and struggle to the glorious wonders of Your transcending, encompassing hope. Let not Your people cry out “For how long O Lord” but guide them, through Your mercy and loving kindness from the hands of anguish and sorrow, from the moments of hurt and pain to the lasting, transcending compassion of Your grace.

All around us there are those who rise up to persecute and oppress. They move about this world like lions ready to tear apart the innocent and the weak and the broken alike, their heads raise like serpents ready to strike. These who stand in their way, these who find themselves the victims of their unrighteous transgressions, are the ones who look upon Your promises as an assurance for their lives, that regardless of the struggle, that regardless of the adversity, You shall shelter them and protect the in all that they are and all that they face.

Be not far off…

Be not far off, be not far distant from their struggles, let not anguish or agony envelop and encompass their souls, let not their bodies fall to the wicked and the sinful, to the proud and the vain. Renew in their lives that lasting sense of hope and peace that can only come from Your hand and guide them from the dark places they are held amidst the bondage and captivity of this world, breaking all the chains that would so constrain them to despair and destitution.

Arise O Lord….

Arise and awaken and let Your face be seen that all may know that You are amongst us to heal and help the slaves and the tortured, the victims who have fallen in this world, as the innocence is ripped from them and their lives are held cheap and without meaning.

Let not their trust in You be in vain, let them not believe that their faith was useless, but from all troubles deliver them in the promises You have made to forever be the guiding force, the transcending light in their lives.

Then shall all know that You, O Lord, are a great and mighty King, a great and mighty Champion at work in this world and through this world, setting to flight all iniquity as You heal the weak and the broken hearted, giving strength unto their spirits and their souls.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

How great is Your name O Lord, how wondrous is the power of Your might?

From the earliest of days, as man found himself bound and captive in this world You contended with his cause, showing forth mercy and compassion as righteousness and love wove together amidst Your judgments. Never would You let Your creation loss hope or find that they were lost amidst this world. Even then Your promises were made clear as hope was found in the wonders of Your works as the promises You made stood as a testimony to Your compassion.

In this age, in this day, there is darkness that surrounds us as men and women are taken and held in grim estate. Bondage and captivity come so easily to humanity as despair overtakes us, and wickedness seems to surround us. We long, waiting and hoping on the assurances that You have made unto us in the blessings of Your word.

Be then beside all prisoners and hostages, all captives and slaves, stand with all who suffer in any sort of trouble and need as they find themselves bound amidst the adversity of this world. Whether the bondage be of the body or the soul, the spirit or the mind, whether they are taken by governments or by poverty, whether they are ripped away by pirates or disease, whether they are burdened by human traffickers or by intolerance and hatred, be the God of their deliverance, letting mercy find them in all that they are and all that they face.

According to Your love set them free…

From all that they face, from all that threatens to overtake them set them free, showing that You are the Lord of their righteousness, that You are that ever present guiding force that shall lead them through the darkness of this world to a blessed hope, to a wondrous light that shall put to flight all that has tried to rip them from peace.

Let not unrighteousness crush them, not let the weight of this sinful world so burden them that they find themselves without hope but show forth Your mercy on their lives that they shall find their faith restored as they are given the comfort and the peace that they have so longed for and that has seemed so elusive to them in the hopelessness that they have found themselves amidst. Let not hurt and sorrow be the guiding force of their lives, but make them to lie down in Your green pastures that they shall find their hearts and their souls, their spirits and their minds are finally at rest… that true and lasting rest that can only come through You.

Then shall all find hope in Your name as our voices rise to give You all honor and praise.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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