Visits to parishioners who are homebound can be both uplifting and challenging. Most of these devout believers are still able to see God at their side in their setbacks. This gives me great joy. Others whose faith is rock-like, sometimes ask, “Why me and why so long?” Attempting to supply answers in this instance is not easy. Remaining silent can be scary.
The shape of distress takes many forms. The nature of any unsettling intrusion in anyone’s life runs deep. This might be a contributory factor to the feeling of the absence of God. Psalm 31 is filled with images of distress: grief, sorrow, sighing, misery, death, breaking.
The psalmist is, however, able to look at his adversities not with a sense of abandonment by God. He still holds up God as one who loves and cares. He still believes that God will draw him with all his afflictions and insecurities to God’s self. He still confesses that his predicament, together with his whole being, is in God’s hands.
This psalm is a good foil to strengthen our confidence, trust and faith in our most difficult moments.
God of life, guide us to know and feel the nearness of your everlasting presence, even when we are drowned by the complexities of our pilgrimage on this earth. Amen. — MP