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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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A few years ago my wife and I took a trip to Ireland. Part of our journey was through a boggy countryside where, our tour guide shared, many perfectly preserved ancient artifacts and even human bodies had been recovered from the bogs. I cannot imagine getting stuck in a bog, especially with no one around to hear you call out for help.

There are times we feel like the psalmist, though. Caught in a desperate situation or the dark pit of despair, we wonder if anyone is there to hear our cry for help. We feel like giving up in our futile plea for deliverance. Then when we least expect it, the hand of God reaches out to save us and places us upon solid ground.

What joy -- what elation -- comes over us in those moments when God delivers us! We cannot help but shout out with exuberance our praise of God's saving help in our lives.

O God, my heart cannot conceal your steadfast love and your faithfulness. Thank you for hearing my cry for help and saving me from the pit of despair. Amen.

Paul H. Brown, '86
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Princeton, Minn.

Psalm 40:1-11 (NRSV)

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, "Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
11 Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.