Lent Devotional MARCH 17, 2019

Scripture

Psalm 42

1  As a deer longs for flowing streams,
        so my soul longs for you, O God.
2  My soul thirsts for God,
        for the living God.
    When shall I come and behold
        the face of God?
3  My tears have been my food
        day and night,
    while people say to me continually,
        “Where is your God?”

4  These things I remember,
        as I pour out my soul:
    how I went with the throng,
        and led them in procession to the house of God,
    with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
        a multitude keeping festival.
5  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you disquieted within me?
   Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my help 6and my God.

   My soul is cast down within me;
        therefore I remember you
   from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
        from Mount Mizar.
7  Deep calls to deep
        at the thunder of your cataracts;
    all your waves and your billows
        have gone over me.
8  By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
        and at night his song is with me,
        a prayer to the God of my life.

9  I say to God, my rock,
        “Why have you forgotten me?
   Why must I walk about mournfully
        because the enemy oppresses me?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my body,
        my adversaries taunt me,
   while they say to me continually,
        “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
        and why are you disquieted within me?
   Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
        my help and my God.

Devotional

The Rev. Jennifer L. Stroud, D.Min. – Parish Ministry / Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Anyone who has spent time in the desert learns, very quickly, how precious water is to every living thing. Without water one’s mouth dries up, one’s skin withers, one’s internal organs begin to shut down. Without water one’s physical body fades away and dies. So it is with our spirit’s need for God.

Without our Lord, our lives are naught but a restless yearning, a thirst that is never abated. But when we discover Jesus our souls drink deeply, and we are refreshed and renewed in the life-giving water offered to us by our loving Creator, the Source of All Being. The Psalmist understands this truth and begins his song by declaring his great need for the Holy Other. But just as our faith can wax and wane through the joys and tribulations of this life’s journey, so, too, is the Psalmist’s faith challenged. He feels anxiety and depression come upon him, and he wonders why. Why has he forgotten how much the Lord has done for him? Why do we?

By the end of the Psalm, the writer has remembered that only the Lord can keep us sane and safe in this world. Only God can quench every thirst and fulfill every need. By God’s grace we also will recall to our minds and our hearts this astounding truth as we experience the ups and downs of our own journeys. This day, thirstily partake of the peace, the joy, and the love given to you by our great God. Meditate on the unending blessings given to you by the Lover of your soul. Remember, drink deeply, and be renewed!

Prayer

Lord I am dry—as brittle as branches in a parched and arid land. I am thirsty for the things this world cannot give me. Fill me, Lord, to overflowing. I need the joy of knowing that You love me more than I will ever understand. I need the comfort of remembering that I am never alone—that Your presence is always with me. I need the power of Your Holy Spirit to strengthen me and teach me so that I do not lose my way. Remind me of the blessings You have showered upon me when the world tries to darken my day. Help me to shine the brightness of Your love and light! In Jesus Holy Name I pray. Amen!

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