Daily Lenten Devotional – March 25, 2020

To the Church in Exile,
Today’s lectionary reading comes from Psalm 146:

Praise the Lord! Let my whole being praise the Lord!
    I will praise the Lord with all my life;
    I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.

Don’t trust leaders;
    don’t trust any human beings—
    there’s no saving help with them!

Their breath leaves them,
    then they go back to the ground.
    On that very same day, their plans die too.

The person whose help is the God of Jacob—
    the person whose hope rests on the Lord their God—
    is truly happy!

God: the maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them,
    God: who is faithful forever,
who gives justice to people who are oppressed,
    who gives bread to people who are starving!

The Lord: who frees prisoners.
    The Lord: who makes the blind see.
    The Lord: who straightens up those who are bent low.
    The Lord: who loves the righteous.

The Lord: who protects immigrants,
    who helps orphans and widows,
    but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn!

The Lord will rule forever!
    Zion, your God will rule from one generation to the next!

Praise the Lord!

Trust.  I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time with this word lately. Can I really trust that someone in this grocery store isn’t sick? Can I trust that person washed their hands for 20 whole seconds? Can I trust that our nation’s leaders will seek to do the best possible things for the most vulnerable in our society? Can I trust this article on the internet that outlines how long this virus lives on surfaces/fabric/cardboard packages from Amazon? Can I trust my neighbors in Seattle to be physically distant from one another in order to flatten this curve? 

Can I trust God to sustain all of us through this season of staying at home?  

Psalm 146 reminds me of singing Praise Ye the Lord, Alleluia as a child in Sunday School. Every time I read it, I hear boisterous young voices. I miss those voices around me on Sundays. This psalm is imploring us to place our trust and hope in God who doesn’t disappoint us. We can trust in God’s unfailing love. God is on the side of the vulnerable and offers freedom, help, provision, justice, and love in abundance. God’s very character is one of healing, hope, redemption. That’s the God I trust in. That’s the God I praise.

Today, I’m honestly having trouble praising and trusting. I’d rather search google for “how long does flattening the curve take?” How long, Jesus? How do I praise you in this time? Today, I’m choosing to trust that there will be a day we will look back and see how God provided during this season. I’m choosing to trust that flattening the curve will work and be a distant memory eventually.

When I’ve been in previous seasons of uncertainty and lament, I’ve been encouraged by Jesus revealing himself in some surprising ways. The Holy Spirit seems to know how to get my attention and speak to me in ways so personally. It’s like Jesus knows how to meet me exactly where I am and acknowledge he has heard my doubts.

Yesterday morning, as I set up my at home work station and got ready to begin my first physically distant chat of the day, my go-to music application Spotify started playing some of my favorite worship songs. Audrey Assad, an artist I have admired for a long time and one we sing regularly at Bethany (she wrote Good to Me, sung in worship on Sunday), had released a new song. It was scheduled before staying at home was the rule. It’s called Island and the lyrics include:

We are knit together
Together as one
Where you’re going I will go
Underneath the shelter of this love
We will walk each other home
You be home to me
I will be home to you
No one is an island

Do yourself a favor this morning as you read this. Listen to this song. In an era of feeling disconnected, I was reminded of how connected we all are. How none of us are doing this alone. We are walking with one another, even virtually, through an unknown season. We have a God who saves and provides and loves and offers more than we can imagine. And this, my siblings in Christ, is more than I could have ever imagined. We are underneath the shelter of God’s love, together, even through these morning emails. Trust that you are not alone. Trust that God is worthy and makes a way to flatten even the most confusing of curves.

Jesus, we praise you in the middle of staying home. We praise you for the people that have come around each of us, offering us community and love. We praise you for the little gifts along the way. God, we trust you even when this feels out of control. You are a God who is faithful to provide and offer us strength and rest in you. We are loved by you – help us to show that love to all of creation. Remind us that we are all connected to each other, even when we don’t see each other face to face at the moment. Remind us that we can trust you. God, thank you for caring for us. We love you and praise you.  Amen.

Peace in Christ,


Danielle Merseles, Associate Pastor of Youth & Young Adults
Bethany Presbyterian Church

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