Psalm 71:1-6


            The biblical psalms do two wonderful services for us as God’s people:  first, a constant stream of reading, quoting, memorizing, and meditating on them actually shapes our faith into a full-orbed, mature, and robust belief; and, second, the psalms provide us with a healthy means of expressing the complete range of our human experience.  So, then, the psalms both reflect our feelings, and, at the same time, form those feelings in order to know God better, cope with situations, and relate appropriately with others.  The fourth-century Bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, had it right about the psalms when he said:  “Whatever your particular need or trouble, from this same book you can select a form of words to fit it, so that you not merely hear and pass on, but learn the way to remedy your ill.”
             Today’s psalm is one of lament, the expression of a person getting along in years and discovering all the limitations and weaknesses that go along with aging.  It is a plea for help.  Whereas in younger days the psalmist had the vigor to engage problems and enemies, now he has the realization that he must more and more depend upon God.  
             I have personally encountered far too many people hitting the aging process that do not deal with it well.  The change to their bodies, even their minds, is so unwelcome that they do not cope quickly, or, sometimes, at all.  Based upon the psalms I would insist that lament is a powerful and necessary form of coming to grips with change.  God has not promised us life-long health and constant energy; rather, he has promised to be with us as our refuge and help through all the vicissitudes of changing health and altered situations.  Let praying the psalms, then, be a regimen as familiar and daily as your using your pill planner and taking your meds.
             Ever-watchful God, you are a rock of refuge, a never changing deity in a world of constant change.  You are my hope, Lord, and my faith has been in you all my life.  I lament all the difficult changes I encounter; I can never go back to the way things were.  So, please open to me a new reality where fresh hope and life can be found, through Jesus Christ my Savior.  Amen.

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