Lent Devotion: April 8th

April 8, 2019
By David Blauw

Psalm 103:
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
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.

Prayer: We bless you, Lord, even in the pit, even in despair or change, even in our waywardness or weakness. Help us soar like eagles as we prepare for early morning, the first day of the week. Amen.
David BlauwChaplain David Blauw has been leading the department of Spiritual Care at Holland Hospital in Holland, Michigan, for almost 25 years. Before that, he served as pastor of Blawenburg Reformed Church in Blawenburg, New Jersey. He is board certified in the Association of Professional Chaplains.

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