|April 8, 2019
By David Blauw
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Read the full psalm.
Many of us recite these words in unison after every observance of the Lord’s Supper. They uplift and give a perspective on life according to the loving grace of God.
But really? All your diseases? Good things as long as we live? Like an eagle’s youth? Really? I sometimes feel like I’m in the pits, as are others around me. As a hospital chaplain, I see the progression of age and disease that challenge us to the core. I am witness to both forgiveness between people and folks who hold grudges to their last breath. I am present at death due to age, trauma, sudden cardiac or respiratory failure, genetic syndromes, and neurological explosions or withering.
I believe we are challenged by Psalm 103 to know that while there can’t always be “cure,” there can always be “care.” For instance, forgiveness by a God who does not hold grudges; steadfast love and mercy, even in the deepest valley. Good things are folded, sometimes secretly, within intrusions such as brain or spinal cord injury; sudden, devastating loss; or the fact that all will lose capacity and abilities with age and disease. Good things, even then. I’ve seen them.
Bless the Lord that there is care and love for us, even if there can’t be cure. This is shown in crisp and awful clarity, as our Lord suffers execution.