READINGOld Testament: Genesis 39:1-23
Psalms: am: 50, 59, 60, 19, 46
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:15
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12
Evening Psalms: 19,46
DEVOTIONAL“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble;…He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God;…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalms 46: 1; 10-11)
This past year has been difficult for me and my family. I have leaned on God for strength more than I have in a very long time. As I was reading this Psalm, I was reminded of another difficult year I had a long time ago when I was a teenager in Catholic School. It was Lent, and being taught by nuns, I remember talking about “what to give up for Lent?” This was always the big question every year. But then, when I couldn’t really think of anything, my teacher (a nun) said to me, “You don’t always have to give up food, you know. What about giving God your time?” I wasn’t sure what that meant. So, after thinking and praying about it for a while, I decided that instead of giving up candy or some other food, I would go to “Stations of the Cross” every Friday during Lent, thinking I was giving up one hour of my time every week for God. What I learned was that I received more from that one hour each week than I ever gave up.
During that hour of focused prayer and “being still”, I learned that God is my refuge and my strength, that He is present during my troubles, and that He never leaves my side. I started looking forward to this time every week. I started to crave the peace it gave me, especially during difficult times. The calm it gave my spirit helped me make some very important decisions. I learned that sometimes it’s the stillness in your heart that speaks the loudest and clearest. Now, during this difficult time in my life, I still look forward to that one hour each Friday because, to this day, it’s the one thing I still “give up for Lent.”
Dear Lord, I pray that You give me and my family peace and comfort. I pray that I will always be able to be still and listen to Your quiet voice in my soul, no matter what is going on in my life. I pray for Your guidance and Your strength to get me through each and every day, and I thank You for being my refuge. Amen.