Devotional || Psalm 31:9-18

By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.

This Psalm of David (Psalm 31:9-18) was likely written during one of David’s escapes from Saul. Here he was, God’s chosen and anointed, running for his life. David was called to be the next king of Israel, yet he feared for his life as Saul tried to kill him. He was on the sidelines, rejected by everyone. People were afraid to associate with him because Saul might take his wrath out on them. He was depressed, sick and grieving.

Many of us are also feeling sidelined. We have been called to a type of work and now are sitting in isolation, afraid to be around others for fear that we will get sick or make someone else sick. Our jobs are gone. Volunteer opportunities are gone.

Isolation and loneliness cause depression. What do we do to keep busy when we can’t work? In my case, I am hearing calls for retired healthcare workers to come back to work to care for so many who are sick, yet my health prevents me from doing that. Others worked in restaurants and small businesses that are closed for the duration. Others are working in their homes without the camaraderie of the office. And yet we know that God is with us, bringing us comfort and hope that this will end soon, and we will be able to return to our in-person lives together.

The Psalm continues with David placing his hope in the Lord. Verse 14, But me, I trust you Lord. I affirm, you are my God. My future is in your hands. … Shine your face on your servant: save me by your faithful love! The next verses of the Psalm continue, Your overflowing goodness You have kept for those who live in awe of You, and You share your goodness with those who make You their sanctuary.

These times will end, we don’t know when, but God is with us, and will continue to be with us until we are back to our normal lives and beyond.

A Prayer from the Extended Cabinet

By Rev. Megan Stowe, Central Massachusetts District Superintendent

Be gracious to me, O God, for I am in distress:
      Financial resources are depleting, and grocery shelves are bare.
      Some jobs are closing, while others are forced to work in unsafe environments exposed to the virus.
     Children are out of school.
     Loved ones are ill and I cannot visit them at the hospital.
     Loved ones have died and we cannot schedule the funerals.
Be gracious to me, O God, for I am in distress:

But I trust in you, O God;
     The sun will continue to rise and set.
      Helpers will care for the most vulnerable: the elderly, the immunocompromised, the homeless, the undocumented and recent immigrants.
      You call us each your beloved child.
I trust in you, O God.

I say, “You are my God.”
       Even when we cannot worship together in the sanctuary.
       Even when we are not allowed out of our residences.
       Even when the world seems to ignore you.
You are my God.

Save me in your steadfast love (hesed*).
      Forgive my rebellious nature, forgive my trespasses.
       You have been with me at my best and you are with me at my worst.
       You are the God who hears and responds with hesed.
       I place all my confidence in your steadfast love.
Save me in your steadfast love.

*hesed: (Hebrew) that can be translated as mercy, compassion, steadfast love, faithfulness or grace.