Lenten Devotional for Tuesday, March 13, 2012

1   I will bless the LORD at all times;
God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth. 

As I write this I am tired.  I have spent the entire day with my father trying to determine what steps to take following the three small strokes that he had last week.  He is now in an inpatient rehabilitation center and in rather good shape, but exhausted.  He is expressing a combination of frustration and determination as he is occasionally not  able to get his mouth to say the words that he wants to say and move the fingers on his right hand in the ways he wants them to move.  It is also a humbling and frightening experience, often filled with complete uncertainty about what is coming next.  This situation forces him and me and my five siblings (who are gathered here in Pennsylvania from three other states) to truly live in the moment, to make decisions based on the current situation (which can and sometimes does change at a moments notice.) 

I have learned, or more clearly come to realize, how most of us siblings are determined problem-solvers.  Feisty ones!  We are continually thinking through contingencies, some of which will or may be abandoned before long.  This is exhausting!  Yet, it is another situation that binds us together as a family ever more closely as we listen, laugh, cry, hug and work through it together.  

As I look back over the last few days, I realize how humbling all this is.  How powerlessness is balanced by sheer determination.  How grateful I feel when I think of how much worse it could be.  And I admit, that I do not do as the Psalmist says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Not at all times and not continually am I praising God.  I’m busy.  Yet, at the same time, I feel God’s spirit is continually supporting and undergirding me.  Living by faith, surrounded  by the community of faith, I sometimes remember and sometimes actually sense this support.  I feel it most when I pause to rest, to reflect, to restore body and soul.  This firm foundation is not my doing, not my building.  I acknowledge my role in staying in tune with it, but it is just there, having been built over the years.  When I don’t feel it, I trust that it is there as it has been in the past.  And I continually count on family and friends in faith to help me through this storm.  These are gifts for which I am very grateful.  I receive them from God through everyone’s prayers and thoughts and acts of caring. It is enough.

Loving Provider, as we journey through Lent, whenever we hold out our hands and lift up our hearts to you, we trust that you will give us what we need.

Rob Stewart

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