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Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.


Read

Psalm 102 (NRSV)

Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call.

For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
I am too wasted to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my skin.
I am like an owl of the wilderness,
like a little owl of the waste places.
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread,
and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger;
for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.

But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to favor it;
the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold its stones dear,
and have pity on its dust.
The nations will fear the name of the LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the LORD will build up Zion;
he will appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their prayer.

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD:
that he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
so that the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.

He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
at the midpoint of my life,
you whose years endure
throughout all generations.”

Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence.


Reflect

Sometimes our world is very scary. The above psalm acknowledges fears, but it also gives us a prescription for fear: faith. The writer of this psalm tells us that God is bigger and stronger than what scares us.

My son, William, was ten years old when he took his first airplane trip. While we were in the air, we encountered some turbulence. Looking out the window, we could see the wing flexing up and down.

I was sitting next to William. I don’t know why, but every few seconds I asked him if he was nervous. He always said, “No, Dad. I am fine.”
Finally I asked him, “Son, why aren’t you scared?” William said, “Well Dad, the flight attendant is sitting right there reading a magazine. She doesn’t look afraid, so I figure we are safe.” My son reasoned that the flight attendant would know if there was anything to fear. As long as the attendant was calm and confident, he could be as well.

The psalmist tells us that the way to do battle against fear is to focus on one who is bigger than the situation: God. God will see us through all of those times when we have to face our fears.


Pray

God, we acknowledge that we often fail to trust in your care. Help us to trust you more. Amen.

Go with God.

Picture of Mark Barron

Mark Barron

Mark Barron graduated from Memphis Theological Seminary in 1998. He has served as pastor of the Manchester Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Murfreesboro Presbytery since his graduation. He and his wife, Cass, have two children, William and Audrey. Mark enjoys spending time with family, fishing, hiking, and participating in water sports.
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