Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. (Psalm 57:1-2 NLT)
I am living through some rather extraordinary days.
My husband’s brother-in-law died last November. What is left of his body, after having been donated to science to further knowledge and learning to which he, a well-known chemistry professor had dedicated his life, is to be interred in Grand Haven, Michigan this Friday. I was asked to officiate.
My youngest cousin on my father’s side, died following a prolonged illness, a few months ago. She was only 41. Those who are left from that side of my family will be gathering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Monday to bid farewell to her. I plan to be with them as well, to represent my parents, who don’t have the wherewithal to travel anymore.
As if this weren’t enough, my father fell two nights ago - two days after celebrating his 89th birthday - essentially breaking his neck. Although not paralyzed, he has four fractures that will require careful tending in order to heal. He will remain in the hospital while I set out to care for other family.
Sometimes life hands us things in rapid succession that - when you stop to think about them too long - are utterly overwhelming.
A few months ago I purchased a couple of books by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie. (I highly recommend anything they write!) In their book The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days is this gem entitled “for when you can’t catch a break”:
The sheer absurdity of these problems could almost make me laugh.
Just as one trouble fades, two more appear.
Like a game of endless Whac-a-Mole.
In our desperation and flooded minds,
Blessed are we when we cry out:
God, help me, here, now.
Blessed are we who look for you, oh God.
You who promises to comfort us in our troubles
And sing over us in the night.
You who promise to strengthen our hearts.
Blessed are we, who hope…still…
That some small good might yet be done.
Yet at this moment may it be enough just to be.
May our eyes close, and soften into stillness.
For God is awake.
God, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Spirit, have mercy. Amen.
In those extraordinary times when, like me, you wonder how you will manage not only to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but also keep your faith intact, remember these words from Jeremiah 31:3-4 NLT:
I have loved you, my people, with everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you [my people]. You will again be happy…. †
Blessings! Pastor Becki