Lectio THEN: Psalm 6 (June 6, 2009) New Jerusalem Bible
“I am fading away”
This is truly how I have been feeling. I feel listless at times with grief from everything that has changed, and full of anxiety over the future. And in this state, I have nothing to give to anyone, and am fading away.
There are several paradoxes as I mull over this image. First, as the psalm goes, I am fading away through my bones, down to my spirit. As my body weakens and withers, my spirit becomes the more prominent part of my being. The irony is that they weakening of my body has not been the withering of my flesh, but the gaining of weight – so in different ways my health and strength are fading away.
Just as I need to pray for the desire to pray and be close to God, I need to pray for the desire to be healthy, to eat well and exercise, and to have life-giving social interactions.
I am carrying away in my pocket the phrase “because of your faithful love.” God, I really believe that now. I don’t feel totally solid and unshakeable, but as I think about climbing and being tired and having “sewing machine leg”, help me to shift my weight over to that leg and stand up on it. I know — or am learning — that you hear me and answer me not because I have earned it, but because you love me. That’s all. And I know that it’s hard for you to watch me in this state, too
Help me to remain in your love – to hold on to you with my right hand so that when I stumble, you will not let me fall. Open the path before me, God, to lead me to health and wholeness. Open my eyes to see where the next step is. Open my ears to hear your voice calling. Open my heart to respond in eagerness and joy. Because of your faithful love, let these things be.
Lectio NOW: Psalm 6 (October 8, 2010) NJB
It’s been nearly four months. Four months of unemployment, the longest period of unemployment since I started working when I was fifteen. To say this experience has been disheartening would be an understatement. To say that it has been stressful, disillusioning, and humiliating, likewise doesn’t quite get at how incredibly difficult this time has been. I have, indeed been “worn out with groaning”, as the psalmist says in verse six.
The problem with asking questions like this of God, is that we often don’t get the answer we want to hear. At least for myself, I want a number, something quantifiable in days or weeks. I ask the question, and don’t hear the answer I want to hear. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a response. If I have already determined the answer I want to hear, I am unable to hear the response and to recognize it when it comes.
This morning, verses eight and nine were able to break through my stubborn resistance and in response to my question “how long”, I heard “Yahweh has heard the sound of my weeping, Yahweh has heard my pleading. Yahweh will accept my prayer.”
In these long in-between times, it really can feel as though our prayers are falling on deaf ears, as though they don’t go any further than the ceiling and walls. I still have to wait, but if I can accept and believe that God has indeed heard me, then I know God will act. But I need to be reminded.
God, I doubt you so often, even as time after time you have acted and stepped in just at the right moment. Help me to remember, help me to trust. My life’s prayer seems to always be “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief!” (paraphrased from Mark 9.24).