Love Letters

Psalm 30 Page 621, BCP

Exaltabo te, Domine

I will exalt you, O LORD,
because you have lifted me up *
and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
O LORD my God, I cried out to you, *
and you restored me to health.
You brought me up, O LORD, from the dead; *
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
Sing to the LORD, you servants of his; *
give thanks for the remembrance of his holiness.
For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, *
his favor for a lifetime.
Weeping may spend the night, *
but joy comes in the morning.
While I felt secure, I said,
“I shall never be disturbed. *
You, LORD, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”
Then you hid your face, *
and I was filled with fear.
I cried to you, O LORD; *
I pleaded with the Lord, saying,
“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? *
will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me; *
O LORD, be my helper.”
You have turned my wailing into dancing; *
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.
Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks for ever.
You know those love letters that folks find in the attic, all bundled together, telling a tale of love across the miles and filled with longing and appreciation for memories created tied to the hope of being together again?  I’m a sucker for reading those.  I am really a bit jealous when someone shares their stash of letters written by a grandfather at war to a betrothed young woman that will be his wife when he returns from saving the world in some faraway land.  We don’t save those things in our family, probably because there isn’t anything to save – not big on letter writing among our relatives.  And now that we are moving away from snail mail all together, these relics become even more cherished and they describe the feelings that two people have for each other in times of separation, hanging on to the hope of the future and the gratefulness for the foundation of that love.
King David wrote Psalm 30 in dedication of the Temple, speaking directly to God in this form of a love letter.  Each line is filled with thankfulness to God: for being saved from enemies, healing, grace and mercy, strength and joy.  David’s life was full of ups and downs, or promise and heartbreak and as a sinful person like the rest of us, he sought to live a life in God’s call while having some pretty obvious errors in judgement (anyone remember Bathsheba??).  But the temple of God was a legacy he intended to leave for the generations to worship the Lord and through all of his trials he returned his focus back to God.  The last line of the psalm says, “Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.”  In my opinion, one of the greatest ends to a love letter I’ve every read.
Being in a relationship requires work, especially if you are not physically present to do the little love things that each of you need.  With God, even though He is with us every step of the way, we humans can feel distant from him when we don’t put in the effort to talk with him and listen to him in our quiet times.  In thinking about David’s psalm of thanksgiving, I think about all that I am grateful for in my life that God has had a hand in providing for me.  I’m not one of those people who thinks God gives gifts and takes them away or worse still, causes pain and loss in our lives.  But rather that these things happen in our lives when we follow him and he is with us, even and especially when we need him the most. Being a Christian guarantees no protection from heartache and sorry, but those things become unmanageable without his love and care for us.
My prayer for today and the days to come is that I remember to give thanksgiving to God first and foremost before I head down the path of just putting in my requests.  In my marriage, I have to show love and appreciation to my husband in at least equal measure to the amount of hurt and pain I can surely cause to the ones I love the most.  It’s like making deposits in the emotional bank account of our marriage.  Fortunately for us, God’s grace and mercy don’t require us to be thankful in equal measure to “earn” any of it all – it is a free gift that God gives us.  I say the least we can do is tell God “THANK YOU!”
Dear Lord, we aren’t worthy to receive the many blessings and gifts that you have bestowed upon us.  Your will for us is greater than our wildest dreams and we fall short of giving you the love and appreciation deserving of your greatness.  Thank you for standing firm in grace and mercy, showing us love and compassion at every success and challenge we reach.  We love you, we worship you and we praise your holy name.  AMEN.

One response

  1. Excellent reflections. Makes me really stop and think about many things

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