“Yet I am always with You;
You hold my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me up in glory.”
As psalms go, it isn’t the prettiest. In fact, much of it is existential angst about the prosperity and popularity of the arrogant and wicked, which apparently was as commonplace in the Biblical world as it sometimes feels in ours. But sandwiched amid the despair and disappointment are two verse of sheer grace. The psalm writer describes God in tender terms. Like a caring guardian and guide, God walks with us, holding our hand and providing the wise words that are needed most. There’s a beautiful promise, too, of honor and glory to come.
Unless we live a very charmed life, we all have days when we could use a holy friend to hold our hand and whisper reassurance. At the risk of sounding like a whiney psalmist, I’ll admit that there are day when I wouldn’t mind being first in line for the cosmic handhold, even if my problems are universally “first world” and smack of privilege. I work too much. I minister to folks in crisis. I cry most days over the dog who died in January. I have a parent undergoing surgery. I’m so sick of COVID that my eyelid begins to twitch when I hear the possibility of new mask mandates. I live in an historic home amid an ocean of honey-dos (Please, Lord, let the bathroom be finished sometime soon). The slugs are taking over the garden — and the deer just ate my daylily buds, which were liberally sprayed with deer repellant last night. Really? That’s my moment of existential angst.
How about you? Take a second and let it rip. I won’t tell anyone.
But maybe today, amid the despair, disappointment, and Delta-variant, we can claim the psalmist’s truth: God holds our hand and walks alongside. Can you imagine it? Take a quiet moment. Place one hand in the other. Breathe deeply, use your imagination, and listen with the ear of your heart. God is with you, like a patient and loving parent; like your best friend from elementary school; like Jesus, who called his disciples his friends. Thanks be to God.