Sanctuary, Trust, and Psalms

posted in: Trust | 0

When Bill and I moved to our present home at Deerpoint Lake in 2005, the verse Psalm 4:8 was stenciled on the wall of the guest bedroom. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”  It became a verse that calmed my soul and confirmed my sense of sanctuary in our home, confident that we would live here for the rest of our lives.  “Sanctuary” was the word the Lord put upon my heart as I settled into this place.  A little sanctuary church window-shaped light catcher came to me about that time and found a home in the sunroom window.  It reminded me of the sense of “sanctuary” the Lord had provided.  Being here felt safe.  Home was a place of rest and feeling the Lord’s presence was very easy. 

In April 2013 we made the decision to add on to the house to make space for my parents to move in.  After we began construction in June, my Father had a brain bleed, was hospitalized for seven weeks and died in August.  It was a long rainy, dismal summer during which our home, and our lives,  were thrown into chaos in many ways. Construction went slowly and was not completed until May 2014.  During that time many changes, far beyond the brick, mortar, paint, and metal roofing came into our lives.  My sense of safety in home, relationships, career, and more was shaken profoundly.  But one thing was never shaken……my trust in God. 

I cried out to God many times and sought refuge and he was always there to comfort and enfold me in his love.  When peace in my little world was nowhere to be found, God was my peace.  I had learned the lesson of trusting God first in 1997 through a time of similar chaos in my life.  In 2001-2002 God had taught me further the lesson of trust when God took me through a time of joy and peace as I went through the year-long process of lay directing Blue Lake Emmaus Walk 137.  Spiritual Director Ron Ball and I spent time in prayer and considering the Scripture for the Walk.  I was led to select Psalm 37:3-5 which affirms the invitation to trust God and extends a promise that accompanies each of the three invitations:

 “Trust in the Lord and do good …….. and you will live securely in the land. 

Delight yourself in the Lord…….. and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

Commit your way to him, trust in him………. and he will act on your behalf.”  

 

God also gave me a melody, months before the Scripture was selected that I eventually realized was the joyful and lilting tune to which my heart would put the words of those Psalm verses.  It became, for me, a personal anthem of praise.  A music director at our church helped me put it into a musical score and I play and sing it from time to time as a personal and intimate reminder of God’s love.  When my world is shaking, I retreat to that Psalm, my private anthem, and God reminds me that he is present and I find rest for my spirit in him.   

This morning the Lord awoke me with the verse Psalm 4:8 firmly in my mind.  A sweet reminder that he is the guardian over me and that he never sleeps. 

“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!  You have relieved me in my distress;

Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.  O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?

How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah.

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; The Lord hears when I call to Him.

Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”  Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!

You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”

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I love Holy Communion as we receive it each month on the first Sunday and any other time it is offered.  It is a time of celebration of my joy in salvation and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in my life, a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice and my opportunity to identify with his suffering, and just a sheer  delight to feel so cherished and provided for by the Lord.  Tonight as I revisited the morning’s Psalm 4 reminder from the Lord, I noticed these lines just above the one I awoke to:

“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”  Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!

You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound.”

God seems to be reminding me that the joy I feel in him arises from the trust I have in him, even more than my love and delight in the sacrament of communion. 

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Several times this week as topics about disappointment, hurt, and suffering have arisen among our students– especially that which arose out of the actions of someone that was trusted –  I have been prompted to emphasize with our students that the Scriptures tell us again and again to “Trust God”  and to “Love and Forgive people”.    Too many try to get by with simply loving God (however, blandly and lacking in action that may actually be) and putting one’s trust in people.  No wonder so many have “trust issues.”     

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