Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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In the past few years I have made several trips to Tanzania. I have observed that, when faced with difficulty and trial, the Tanzanians don't pray for God to lift the heavy burdens from their backs. Instead, the prayer is that God would make their backs stronger.

This Psalm has some powerful images of God's protection for the faithful, but can we really believe in the notion that "no evil shall befall you" or that "you will not dash your foot against a stone?" We know that the faithful and the unfaithful alike are afflicted with illness, poverty and abuse. I'm left wondering what God really means when He offers protection.

Here's what the Tanzanians know: the really important verse in this Psalm comes at the end. "When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble..." Life with God is not free from burden. Life with God means that, even through difficulty, we are given an indescribable strength that can only come from God.

Lord God, when trials in life come my way, make my back stronger. Amen.

Sara Spohr
Southwood Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Neb.
Master of Divinity , 2005

Psalm 91:9-16 (NRSV)

9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,

10 no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

12 On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

14 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.

15 When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.

16 With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.

This week's devotions are offered by a Luther Seminary alumnus from the graduating class of 1998.