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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, December 16, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  | Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. (NRSV)

This year ushered in significant changes to the way we live our lives. Throughout 2020 we have been overwhelmed with matters that create a significant amount of anxiety and distress. Whether it be the COVID pandemic, the presidential election, demonstrations, or individual problems, it is difficult to escape the threats and burdens of humankind. At times it may seem that the difficult seasons of life will never end.

Psalm 126 is a good recipe for hope, for expressing joy for the hope we have in a faithful God. The psalmist provides a message of promise and reminds us that our troubles and sorrows are temporary: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”

In the psalm we are encouraged to consider how God has helped us through difficult times in the past. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” When I am overwhelmed with despair, I like to take a blessing break. During these much-needed breaks from self-pity, I remember the times God provided. During these times of personal reflection, I do not casually think about the great things the Lord has done but celebrate what God has already done, trusting that God will do it again.

This psalm is much needed during times of crisis. The recipe for endurance is simple. First, appreciate how God helped you through past situations. And then, secondly, trust that God will do it again. Whatever you are going through, know that your situation, regardless of how dire, will get better.

Gracious God, thank you for being a saving, transforming, and restoring God. We are grateful for your holy presence during times of crisis and despair. The hope we have in you serves as strength and comfort in the most difficult seasons of life. Help us to recall with thanksgiving all that you have already done for us. Thank you for taking that which is planted in tears to be harvested with shouts of joy during every season of life. Amen.

Written by Robert Crouch, Director of Volunteer Ministry

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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