“Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:6-8 NRSV)
Lucy has her own profession in the Peanuts comic strip: psychiatrist.
Lucy has put out her shingle — “Psychiatric Help 5¢”. Her brother Linus shows up at her makeshift booth and pours out his “deep feelings of depression.” Lucy’s quick reply, “Snap out of it! Five cents, please.”
I don’t think that Linus received his money’s worth out of Lucy’s answer, and I’m sure that many of us feel the same way about much of the advice that we are getting, especially in this age of pandemic and unrest. People are really experiencing isolation and abandonment, hopelessness and despair, anguish and fear, and depression — deep depression rooted in life’s real circumstances. A quick “Snap out of it!” isn’t going to be of much help to people who are really suffering depression, burnout, and PTSD.
So, where do they turn for the help that they need? Hopefully to a more sympathetic ear than Lucy provided. Or, better yet, to the poetry of the psalmists, where refuge and strength can be had, a way forward found when walking through the valley of shadows and death, and real answers found to our cry of forsakenness and abandonment.
Friends, it really is a time of distress, and our response in such a time as this is clear: “let all who are faithful offer prayer”. In this intimate sharing of our deepest selves, we receive what we need most: “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
There are many people like Linus and Lucy out there right now who would appreciate a bit of direction and compassionate listening. We may not be ready to put out our shingle and advertise our “psychiatric help”, but as friends and followers of Jesus the Christ, we still have our part to play. Whatever the day may hold for us, remember Who holds the day and Who holds us!
Prayer: “Lord, I need to keep things in perspective. I get so engrossed in my own ups and downs that I forget that You hold the whole world in Your hands. Fill my heart with a daring and dangerous hope.” Amen. – Anna Bedford
Copyright © 2021, by Kenn Stright <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada