July 3: Troubles

“O Lord, God of my salvation,
    when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
    incline your ear to my cry.”
from Psalm 88 (NRSV)

In a scene from Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, Stingo, the main character, finds himself reading Psalm 88 with an African-American woman as they travel across country.

There are no uplifting words in Psalm 88. No joy. No hope. No promised future. But the hurting Psalmist will not give up trying to connect to the divine. The poet trusts, that even though it may be tenuous, there is a connection between the dark night of the soul and the God of life.  In the writer’s mind, a response from God eventually is possible. In desperate times, God is in our cry for help.

As the bus rattles along, the African-American woman says, “Dat is some fine Psalm.”

The woman knows that the cathartic words and the silence of God in Psalm 88 are what Stingo needs, for his life is full of troubles as he grieves over the death of two of his friends.

John Berryman, at a time of great suffering, wrote “I don’t believe I will sing anymore.” Have you ever felt that way, as if you would not sing again?

In the painting “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt van Rijn a boat filled with people in being tossed to and fro in the turbulent sea. There is no light in the night sky. Desperation clouds the occupants’ face. But a calm Jesus is in the boat.  His face is translucent.

Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee.jpg

 

When we are troubled, when we are in trouble, and when we sense trouble, the calming presence of Jesus is accessible to light our way through the darkness even though the future remains unknown.

by Jacquie Meadows
Photo credit: Reno Bus Station, Ben Gallagher

As you go about your day, keep your eyes open.
What does “Troubles” look like to you? 

Post your picture with #reno150 on any social media site.

 

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