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.
Have you ever watched an older person meet a little child? “Look at her perfect skin!” the elder says, as her wrinkled hand touches a flawless cheek or chubby little arm. The juxtaposition says it all.
By 50 or 60 years, those scars, spots, and wrinkles aren’t the exception; they’re the rule. They tell true stories of a life that knows sorrow and disappointment, dread, and terror, inside and out. We are broken, but that’s only half the story. We are breakers, too. We have broken our promises and harmed those we ought to have loved. There’s no hiding the truth. It is written all over our faces.
God has a face, too. It shines on yours. It shines with salvation, love, and mercy. For you.
Merciful God, let your face shine upon your servant. Lord, save me in your steadfast love. Amen.