READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 5:20-31
Psalms: Psalms 75, 76
New Testament: Romans 3:19-31
Gospel: John 7:1-13
Evening Psalms: Psalms 23, 27
“I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and chant praise to the Lord.”
(Psalm 27:6)A friend recently posted on Facebook that she had become “stale” in her prayer life. She believed that God was calling her to pray boldly and unceasingly for miracles and healing. My first thought was, Yes! She is absolutely right. Why are we so often timid when we approach God? We pray for others’ needs. We pray for friends, but gosh darn it, why do we so often forget to pray “boldly” for our own needs? As I pondered this, I scrolled down to the comments. There were several likes. There was only one comment, one short comment from our mutual friend, Leslie*, who had recently been diagnosed with Stage Four cancer.
Our neighborhood rallied together for Leslie. During prayer vigils, we prayed for peace, wisdom and discernment for Leslie’s doctors, strength for her family, and comfort for Leslie. Interestingly, and my friend’s Facebook comment helped me realize this, not one person prayed for healing. Surely, these prayers were not bold enough to bring healing to Leslie, but then I read Leslie’s comment: Yes, but don’t forget to give thanks. My heart stopped when I read her comment. What could Leslie possibly be thankful for? Her four children are faced with the prospect of losing their mother. Her family may have to endure the pain of her loss. The scenarios in my head were of unending loss and grief.
On reflection though, I believe that by offering thanks to God, Leslie is finding another way to cope with her illness. She is focusing on the abundance and beauty of God’s eternal love: the neighbors who stepped in to help care for her family, the friend who drove her to chemo, the changing seasons she witnessed from her deck, and her beautiful family. If I had to deal with a similar situation, would my prayers be words of thanks? Would I be filled with the love, light, and peace of our Lord? I pray that I would be like Leslie - trusting God, and taking to heart the above words from today’s Psalm.
Lord, I thank You for the gift of this earthly life. More importantly Lord, I thank You for the gift of eternal life – a gift made holy by the sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
* Name changed for privacy