Lenten Devotion – Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Lionel Philidor stands near the Sainte Helene Coffee Cooperative in Carice, Haiti. Through LWR, Lionel learned how to grow coffee seedlings and began a plant nursery in the cooperative. {Photo: Allison Shelley]

This post is one in a series of devotionals written by Lutherans in the U.S. and LWR staff around the world reflecting on their faith, which calls them to proclaim hope for those in need. Check out the other devotionals in the series.

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Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” — Psalm 118:24 (NRSV)

Every day is a gift from God. And every day — even if it’s a tough one — is full, rich and precious, with new opportunities and blessings. Of course, it’s easier for us to recognize God’s hand and accept that it is acting in our life when everything is going well, when family and friends are in good shape, and when we are facing no significant economic or social problems.

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Sometimes we are led to think that only the moments that make us scream with joy and happiness reflect the work and the presence of God in our life, that God has made happy days and wouldn’t be so involved in circumstances that we would qualify as bad ones. Those might include war, famine, natural disasters, starvation, and the economic and social vulnerability with which many of the rural families LWR works with are living. Are those tough moments also God’s works?

The Bible tells us that every day will have its own worries. God walks with us through trials to help us cultivate endurance. He never said life on earth would be a series of good events. How can we rejoice in the not-so-good ones?

First, by faith. The Lord is faithful and takes care that today we will not be tempted and tried beyond our ability to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He promises to be with us in every difficult moment, and we believe in that. The presence of God by our side, the privilege to count on him when things are going poorly, is a recurring theme that helps us accept and live every moment as the “day that the Lord has made.”

Second, we can rejoice by our actions. As our life is full of grace and God’s accompaniment in difficult moments, we must also return those blessings and that grace to our community. By accompanying the most vulnerable and helping to alleviate their pain, we can manifest and express our gratitude to God.

If our way and LWR’s way of working and accomplishing our calling is not based only on material and personal satisfaction, and if we give back with both science and conscience, we become instruments of God’s hand to help everyone, even the most vulnerable, be able to say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.“

It reminds me of what Sentales Seratil, member of a local partner based in Northwest Haiti, said to me last year in an LWR focus group in Petite Riviere (Jean-Rabel): “LWR may not be aware of it, but the decision of working with us and providing seeds to us after this long drought was not a human decision. I strongly believe it was God’s decision.”

Let us rejoice!

How did you rejoice after a particularly not-so-good day? How did God accompany you, and how did you look with hope toward the next day?

 

Prayer

God who accompanies us through the valleys, fill us with your grace so that even when your presence feels far away, we can reach out to those in need. Every day is a day made by your hand. May the blessing of that be shared with all! Amen.

 

Justine Poldor serves as the Program Manager for Lutheran World Relief in Haiti.

 

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