Daily Devotion for Saturday 15th June 2024

Saturday, 15 June 2024
Psalm 13

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
    and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’;
    my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.
 
Reflection

Getting to know leaders and friends of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar has been a deep privilege and also the cause of great struggle in recent years.  Regularly hearing of violence and disaster it feels like we run out of meaningful ways to respond.  Any words inevitably seem weak and ineffective.   The most common response in conversations is ‘we are praying for you’.   I cannot speak for others, but sometimes those prayers sound like verses 1-2 of Psalm 13: how long must this go on for, God? What more should the people of Myanmar have to suffer?  Not only oppression and violence, but also a devastating cyclone, and then a plague that destroys subsistence crops.  How much more?  What next?  Injustice seems to be in control, and as the psalms so often show us, sometimes we just need to get it all out in brutal honesty.  I find myself desperately asking for explanations, for understanding, for sight of God’s hand in what is happening, as in verses 3-4.  But it is when the raw outpouring of rage and hurt has subsided that we find ourselves able to make an active choice to renew our trust in God (verses 5-6) and indeed can even be full of joy, despite everything: PCM church members have been establishing makeshift health centres and schools in their church buildings; they are inviting displaced people into their homes; they are providing meals for those who have lost everything.  God’s generosity and justice is evident in all of these acts, and many more, large and small, and also in the generous giving of a global community of friends and partners.

Our prayers of lament are not weak, or ineffective: they express an intimate relationship with God where honesty is key, where trust can be restored, and where we acknowledge God’s unconditional love and generosity. 

Prayer 

We cry to you, oh God: how long must your people suffer?
Answer us oh God,
show us your justice and mercy.
Help us to see where you are at work
as we give thanks for your endless love.       Amen

Today’s writer

Lindsey Brown is the URC’s Mission Support Officer and the URC representative on the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar’s Ecumenical Partners’ Group.

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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