Chapter-a-Day Psalm 54
Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Psalm 54:4 (NIV)
Wendy and I are neck deep in rehearsals for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which opens three weeks from tonight. This means that our life outside of work is pretty much lived at the theatre with about 60 other cast and crew members. My part is relatively small, so last night I found myself with down time to talk to people.
Sitting in the auditorium, I enjoyed conversation with a friend who has quietly been going through a significant medical issue over the past year or so. I asked how she was doing and was pleased when she became very transparent and let me in on what has been an intensely personal struggle. She related what life has been like on this stretch of her journey and spoke of one particular moment when she realized she wasn’t going to die. Obviously she had thought she might be making a premature exit from this life. As we talked I came to perceive two things. Her illness had put her through a particularly isolating and lonely period of time, and her faith in God was both tested and strengthened.
The lyrics of today’s psalm are structured very carefully and deliberately. David’s plea and description of his trouble make up the first three lines. His assurance of God’s help and deliverance make up the last three lines. The line I’ve pasted above is the crux of the song. It is the centerpiece around which the song is structured.
I thought about my friend as I meditated on the line above. Like David, we all experience times of the journey when we are on the run from whatever threatens us. It could be sickness, relational struggle, physical harm, unemployment, depression, financial crisis, or any number of other intense situations. The real issue is what we reach for during these periods of time. To what do we cling? What (or who) is it that sustains us?