Preacher: “So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.”
Seeker: The psalmist is sad, or at least in a reflective mood. And I suspect, Preacher, that you are too.
Preacher: I do confess that I have tendency to look back over the past, and think about what has happened; and what my part has been in it. Could I have done more? Or should I have done less? Was I all that the Lord God called me to be? And I think about friends and family that have passed away; and those I have just lost touch with. I pick through the memories, trying to discern wisdom. And find hope for the future.
Seeker: Do you, Preacher, say with the psalmist, “Turn, O LORD! How long? Have compassion on your servants!”
Preacher: Yes. But invariably when I think on it, I realize that the Divine has had compassion on me already. My introspection may cause me to grieve, but the Divine has been there to catch the tears and console me. To gird me up, and give me hope.
Seeker: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
Preacher: “Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.” But that is the psalmist being sad again. He does not speak for me in this. I have been glad more days than I have been afflicted. And I have been preserved from evil affecting. Or, if it has, my Lord has healed me such that I do not feel the sting or burn of it.
Seeker: Yet you are sad.
Preacher: Just because evil has not scarred me, does not mean I have not seen evil. Oh, I have seen it; and seen it scar our world. I have seen it bring good people to their knees, and raise evildoers up to great heights where their misdeeds have affected untold souls. And I have been led to pray, both for their sake and that I may find a way to bring healing to them.
Seeker: Your sadness then is more for others than yourself? No, Preacher. I have seen your sadness for your own self. Not because of evil in the world, but because you have been afflicted in other ways.
Preacher: You have keen sight, Seeker. Yes, my afflictions cause me to be sad. But it is my hope in the Divine that keeps me moving forward, and hoping for a good outcome. And with that hope, I work towards a good outcome, with all that is within me. Until my physical afflictions catch up to me, and the cycle of sadness starts again.
Seeker: Then my prayer for you is as the psalmist said, “Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.” May the Lord bless and keep you, Preacher.
Preacher: And my prayer for you also comes from the psalmist – “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands– O prosper the work of our hands!” ( Psalm 90:12-17)
Seeker: Shalom & Selah!