Strength / by Andrew Fairfield

Dear friends,

There are times I feel just miserably weak. Whole days will go by and things aren’t right in my head and heart -- it seems to creep up on me, unnoticed, until 1 of 2 things happens: Either I do or say something I shouldn’t, making things worse but at least helping me to be aware of what’s going on; or some alarm bell goes off, some act of God’s grace, allowing me to become aware without having to do any harm first.

I’m trying to teach myself that no matter how I figured out that something’s wrong, my response needs to be the same. Whether I did a dumb thing or whether I just heard the right song, read the right scripture, saw the right bird, or took the right moment to pause and realize that I’m not doing well -- either way, I need to lean harder on prayer as I try to find a way forward.

Of course, if I did do something bad (or failed to do something I should) I need to make it right and ask forgiveness. That’s what I’m used to thinking and worrying about. But that alone isn’t enough - that alone doesn’t get us where we need to be.

This week’s psalm, number 138, says “On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.” It can be hard to recognize that we need help, that our souls need strength even when nothing particularly terrible is going on in our lives -- and it can be doubly hard to recognize that we deserve help when terrible things are in our lives. We need regular reminders that “the Lord is high, but regards the lowly.”

God’s love for us is steadfast, certain. On the days we call out, if we can allow ourselves to relax a bit and feel that love we will be strengthened. And I find it to be a whole lot easier if I do it early, before things have gotten too bent out of shape.

May God’s strength be our strength the same moment we realize something is wrong, and may that realization come early rather than late.

Grace and peace,