Daily Devotion - Monday, February 15, 2016

Throughout the season of Lent, we'll be focusing on some of the Scriptures that are included in the daily lectionary readings each week of the season. I'll be sharing portions of those passages that speak to me and reflecting on them.  
6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. 7 Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. 8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings 9 from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. - Psalm 17:6-9
Many years ago, when Merideth and I lived in South Florida, I would accompany my father-in-law (who was a season ticket holder) to all of the Miami Dolphins home games.  I would always cheer for the Dolphins, even though my heart belonged to my beloved Denver Broncos.  I even owned a Dolphin t-shirt or two and a couple of caps that I would wear to the games. 

One Monday night, however, the Dolphins played my Broncos at home.  It was the first time I had ever had a chance to see my team play in person, and I wanted to represent my true loyalty.  I arrived at the game all decked out in my Broncos gear--jersey and hat.  

People booed me when I came to sit down.  My father-in-law spent much of the game kind of leaning away from me.  The Broncos lost the game that night (even though they would go on to win the Super Bowl) and I took a lot of abuse afterward.  Some of it was pretty hostile, to be honest.  I kind of felt uncomfortable and uneasy hearing some of the horrible things that people were saying to me.  

When I read this passage today, I am reminded of that moment.  I couldn't hide.  I was in enemy territory.  Because I was outnumbered, I felt like I could't really respond to defend myself.  There have been more than a few times in my life when I have felt like I was surrounded.  Maybe you have, too.  When you feel like you are surrounded, when you feel like there's no one who has your back, or your best interests at heart--it's easy to withdraw, to give up, to shrink back from the moment.  

Maybe it's a boss, who doesn't believe in you and is constantly antagonistic.  Maybe it's a group of "friends" who are pressuring you to do or to say things that you know are wrong.  Maybe it's the hundreds of voices in your head that have told you that you are not good enough.  Maybe it's a bunch of Christians who make you feel like you aren't loved by God at all.  

Pray the Psalm for today if you are feeling this way.  Pray these words, "I call on you God, for you will answer me...."  Pause and let that sink in for a moment.  If you call on God, God will answer.  Then pray the rest of it.  Read those words out loud so you can hear your voice say them.  "Keep me as the apple of your eye (because you are). Hide me in the shadow of your wing (God is on your side, my friend)..." 

May you be filled with the grace and great strength of the God who made the Universe, the God who sustains the cosmos, the God who breathed life into you and who loves you beyond all love.  May you know that even when it feels like you are surrounded--this same God stands before you, behind you and all around you.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  


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