In the joys and celebrations of life, as well as in the days of suffering and sadness, I have always found comfort in the ancient words and poetry of the Psalms. I am always touched by the raw honesty of God’s people as they approach God in pain, turmoil, or joy, finding a haven in God’s love as they lift their voices to God. The Book of Psalms is my safe place to be with God, especially in times of grief, sorrow, or uncertainty.
God, my perfect hiding place in my time of trouble (Psalm 9)
During the months I have been on family leave, on those days when grief enveloped me, the days when I couldn’t find the words to pray, I found God in the ancient words of the Psalms. I would say these words:
“Keep your eye on me, hide me under the shadow of your wing” (Psalm 17)
Protect me, dear Lord, for I am fragile.
I felt held and comforted. It was a sweet time being held by God, tucked under God’s wing.
I often wondered where I would find the strength for this journey? A journey of grief forced upon me! Then these words echoed in my ears,
“I lift my eyes to the hills from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121)
Slowly and surely, the gloom subsided and the light began to shine. I have walked through the valley and God has walked beside me and comforted me.
God has used each of you in my journey. You have lined the rocky path of grief with your prayers, cards that arrived at the perfect time with perfect words, a phone call or text, or the beautiful flowers from the altar that graced my house. All these were outward symbols of the inward love of our Lord. You were the hands, feet, and heart of God.
I have begun to grow from my wounds. There is great pain in the loss of a dear loved one. I am grateful for the pain because I am so grateful for the love they shared while on their earthly walk.
My prayer is answered.
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me in joy, that I may sing praises to you and not be silent.” (Psalm 30)
The Psalms were my all-in-a-time during loss and also now in my time of healing.
As I return to All Saints’ from family leave, I have a little more pep in my step. I walk into a beloved community.
“Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 135)
Indeed I praise the Lord, who heals my wounds and returns me to God’s people.