Dear Church Family,
Our scripture today comes from Psalm 138:
“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.” (verses 1-3)
I enjoy starting my day by reading a sermon. One of my favorite preachers to read is Rev. James Stewart. He was a pastor in Scotland in the 1930s and 1940s but his words leap off the page with timeless conviction and inspiration. This week one of the sermons was on Psalm 138. In it, Stewart shares how this psalm can be a guide to our prayer lives. Then he talks at great length about verse 3: “On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.”
We can so often wonder if our prayers will ever be answered or if God is even listening to them. Stewart reminds us that our faith does not teach that the answer is always “yes,” that the trial is always side-stepped. Facing a trial does not mean that God did not hear your prayer, or even that God is not answering your prayer right now. This is how Stewart puts it:
“There are two ways in which God can answer your petition. The one is to level down the burden to suit your strength. The other is to level up your strength to suit the burden.”
This second answer is the one the psalmist speaks of when he says, “you increased my strength of soul.” Whatever you are facing in your life right now, I hope you will pray about it. Take your anxieties and your concerns and your burdens to God in prayer. It could be that God will lessen your burden. It could be that God will strengthen your soul to face the burden. Either way, God wants to answer you. As humans we cannot understand why some prayers seem to get a “yes” and others a “no,” and still others a silent pause. But as Christians we know that God hears us when we pray and that heaven itself responds.
Prayer: Lord God, I pray to you today. My burdens weigh heavily on me. If they can be lessened, please lessen them. If they cannot, carry me through them. I offer my prayer as one of your children whom you call precious. Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you all,