Renewed Strength and Faith

This is the fifth entry in the UCCDM Lenten Devotional 2016 series. This devotional reflection comes from Dr. Nadyne Guzmán. Her bio can be found on the Board of Directors Page. This devotional reflects the views of the author and not the views of UCCDM.

“O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.  So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.  My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”  (Psalm 63: 1 – 8)

As I read this passage, what comes to my mind is how many times I have experienced this amazing experience of loving God — of having my body, mind, and spirit be filled up with the joy and awe of knowing I am part of this wondrous Mystery.  However, what I have to admit is that there have been many times in my life when the struggles with the limitations of my body and mind have taken me to a point of incredible frustration.  Then there have been the times when I have succumbed to deep depression and accompanying despair.  In those times life feels just too hard to bear, and daily tasks seem impossible.  That’s when I forget the joy of my connection to God and the constant Presence that has always upheld me, even in my darkest hours.

I know I’m not alone in this.  I’ve talked with many others who struggle with physical and/or neurological disabilities and/or mental illness.  And it’s not just the internal struggle or the endeavor to get through the seemingly small tasks of life — it’s the estrangement from family, friends, and even strangers who just don’t understand and who cast judgment without grace.

Many of us admit that it’s all too easy to slip into self-pity and to forget that God’s steadfast love is always present.  And when we remind each other that our challenges are also our blessings — that they have helped us become even more compassionate with others who carry their own struggles with life — we help each other remember to give thanks for the steadfast love of our Creator whose right hand upholds us in all things.  And through this common understanding I find myself praising God once again, feeling renewed strength and faith, and allowing the One Love to fill me once again to overflowing.

Prayer:  Dear and precious Creator, help me remember each day to be ever mindful of your steadfast love, of my interconnection with those who understand and those who do not, and of your Presence in Grace that sustains us all as One.