I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh though my tears
I was born to love
I’m gonna learn to love without fear
from “Born” by Over the Rhine
Psalm 119:81-88 is an acknowledgment that there are times when we feel the absence of God. Sometimes these are hard times — moments of physical or emotional pain where we need a little comfort. Just as often, these are good times — moments of celebration or steady wellbeing that may make it easy to forget to keep God in the loop about what’s going on in our lives.
What I like best is that this particular psalm doesn’t resolve. The authors didn’t feel the need to clean it up or make it nice (you know, like church people are supposed to do). There is no glib happy ending. There is no superficial fix. There is just the waiting. There is just the longing. There is just the silent trust that even this feeling of absence will eventually pass.
Faithfulness doesn’t always look like “feeling it.” Faithfulness sometimes looks like being steady and true even when you’re not feeling it. It means having grace for your doubts, and letting them sit with you for a little while, too. Faithfulness doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory, but that everything is what it is, and we will be true to ourselves and our loved ones no matter what we’re feeling.
I love this song by Over the Rhine. It acknowledges that life is full of sorrow and worry, but that we get to choose who we will be in the midst of it. Perhaps you are sorrowing, calling out for God right now. How will you practice grace?
Maybe you will practice love by being faithful, kind, or patient with yourself.
Maybe you will practice love by sharing your vulnerability with someone you trust, and letting yourself rely on someone else to help.
Maybe you will practice love by sharing the scar tissue from those wounded times in your life with someone who is hurting now, giving them hope for healing for themselves as well, and a listening, non-judgmental heart to hold space for their pain.
Being faithful is not always easy. It certainly doesn’t mean everything will be easy. But we trust that we can be true through it all, as God is true (non-judgmental, kind, patient, loving, comforting, forgiving, and challenging) with us.
by Kris Marshall
Photo credit: Reno First United Methodist Church during Pride 2017,
by Kris Marshall
As you go about your day, keep your eyes open.
What does being “Faithful” look like to you?
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