Even When It Hurts: March 20, 2021

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

Read: Psalm 71

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.
-Psalm 71:2

Here the psalmist raises another prayer for protection. He laments once again vulnerability at the hand of wicked enemies. He pleads for God to incline an ear, to really hear the cries for help. We humans have a need to be heard, to be truly understood. We instinctually know as newborns that we must cry for our very survival. Verse 6 says, “Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.” So, there was never a time that God didn’t hear us. What a comfort!

I’m also reminded of something my mother told me. Now, Mom wasn’t particularly “touchy-feely”; she was definitely a “spare the rod, spoil the child” kind of parent. When I was only four years old, I passed her bedroom late one evening and heard her quietly speaking. Eight months pregnant with my little sister, she was lying on the bed, reading aloud—and alone. When asked who she was talking to, she patted her belly and said, “To your little brother or sister.” Surely wide-eyed, I asked why. In the sweetest tone I can ever remember her intoning, she replied, “So they’ll know my voice already when they’re born. When I call you, you know my voice. That’s because I read to you, too.”

Nearly thirty-five years later, it was my turn to read to her. Mom had Parkinson’s for about 20 years by this point and following hip surgery, she spent about two months at a rehab hospital. I traveled from Texas to Indiana to give my sisters, who lived locally, a break from overseeing her care by spending all day every day with her for my two-week visit. At her request, I read to her from the Bible for hours, always from the psalms, and she frequently asked me to repeat the 71st. She noted that we are not cast off in old age and gray hair, that God is faithfully present throughout our entire lives. We may well “see many troubles and calamities” (v. 20), but God’s promise is repeated revival—life anew over and over.

Indeed, God is our hope (v. 5) and our salvation (v. 3).

Oh God, you who created us, we thank you for always hearing us when we pray. Amen.
-David Sloat