Daily Devotion – April 8, 2022 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Psalm 31:9-16
31:9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.
31:10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.
31:11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
31:12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
31:13 For I hear the whispering of many– terror all around!– as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
31:14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
31:15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
31:16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.

When one is really in the depths of despair, a lament makes one feel less alone – someone else has been here before me, we might say. Psalm 31 describes how anyone who has been humiliated might feel.

If you’ve ever been in this kind of dismal mood, you know that you just have to sort of live through it until it passes. People who suffer from depression often cannot even get out of bed when they find themselves beset in this way. Even those of us who do not have clinical depression might stay at home, avoid social gatherings, worry about how they look to others, and just kind of shut down.

What is the answer, then? What does the psalmist do? The psalmist realizes that his life is in God’s hands. There is someone larger and more powerful to turn to for help in days of doom and despair: God. The final verses of today’s passage are an answer:

I trust you. I say that you are my God. I pray to you for deliverance. I ask you to shine your face upon me, to show me your ever-present love of me.

Some of us reading this devotion today are in those very doldrums as they read. If you are suffering from a deep low time, please do what the psalmist does. Just say aloud verses 14-16. Know that God actually has you in the palm of God’s hand and will never let you go. Breathe easy. God loves you.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for having our back even if we don’t remember that you have our back. Allow us to be comforted by your Holy Spirit and relax in your hand as though it were a hammock hanging from strong trees on a warm spring afternoon. Thank you, God, for loving us.   Amen.