Psalm 31:9–16 (NRSV)
Verse 9Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.
Verse 10For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.
Verse 11I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
Verse 12I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
Verse 13For I hear the whispering of many terror all around! as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
Verse 14But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God."
Verse 15My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Verse 16Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
Sometimes it feels as if the weight of the world is mine to carry. Not only do my thoughts undermine my confidence, but my body seems to have joined the attack also. The foes with whom we struggle can be mental and physical, and sometimes—as the psalmist bears witness—even neighbors and acquaintances scorn, ignore, or turn against us.
Indeed, the psalmist has given words to my grief. Yet the season of Lent turns our attention, like a tennis tournament on steroids, this way and that way, between conflict and confidence. In giving ourselves the space and time to pause, we join with followers of Christ who find permission to cry out to God who hears our whole heart—desire, doubt, despair, and trust.
Our reading ends with a statement of confidence before another request is made. It is appropriate. To cry out in desperation is a sign of our conviction that the One to whom we cry hears and cares.
God who hears the cries of the weary, thank you for letting me honestly speak my grief. Today, to say more might be more than I can do. So hear my cry and save me in your steadfast love. Amen.