Monday, October 06, 2008

Psalm 73

Yesterday morning I went to visit the great aunt. She lives 45 minutes a way, so this tends to be an all-morning jaunt for me. I visit several times a month.

Poor Aunt Susie now resides in an assisted living facility. She is quite unwell and my aunt and uncle, who are caring for her and her affairs, have called in hospice.

She does not always remember who has been to see her or who is in front of her. Some of the relatives she no longer knows if they drop in for a visit, particularly those who do not visit often.

Me, she always knows, though sometimes she'll say, "Oh, it's Anita, ... isn't it?" when I drop by. (Actually she calls me by a childhood nickname which will never be revealed on this blog.)

When I entered her room yesterday she was all wrapped up in a blanket and sweater. It was sweltering in her room, but she stays cold. I can last about a half hour before the heat starts making me wheeze.

Since she cannot hear well and does not always remember, it is difficult to converse. Much of the time is passed in silence. During those times I often wonder what she is thinking or remembering. The days of her youth? Is she missing someone? Is she in pain?

Of all the members of our family, Aunt Susie was the most dedicated church-goer. Members of her congregation drop in to see her often, for which I am grateful.

Yesterday she asked me to read to her from the Bible. The book was old and musty, making my eyes water. I thumbed through it. "Do you have a favorite passage?" I asked.

She said no. "Just open it and read," she advised.

I opened the book to Psalm 73. As I read, I could not help but think of the world today and the perils and issues we face. So I have put the psalm below to see if anyone else sees similarities. Are we indeed a species doomed to continually repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again?

Psalm 73
BOOK III : Psalms 73-89
A psalm of Asaph.
1Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.

5 They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.

7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.

10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.

11 They say, "How can God know?
Does the Most High have knowledge?"

12 This is what the wicked are like—
always carefree, they increase in wealth.

13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;
in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

14 All day long I have been plagued;
I have been punished every morning.

15 If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed your children.

16 When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me

17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.

19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!

20 As a dream when one awakes,
so when you arise, O Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,

22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your post a lot. I feel so bad for your aunt. I will pray for her. What a wonderful neice you are to her.

    I don't know what I would do without my faith in God. It amazes me how some people can get through life without it. And the psalm reminds me that some things never change.

    Ok, now it's fess up time. What's the nickname? ;)


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