From Alexandra May
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4 resonated with me today, as I was thinking about the relief that I received from God during my most recent distress: being diagnosed with brain cancer. After my surgery, I was weak and not mentally clear. I felt like I was living outside of my 26-year-old body. I plead with God for healing and strength both mentally and physically, much like the psalmist is pleading for an answer in verse 1.
I like that the psalmist recognizes it is ok to “be angry” with God. Like the psalmist, I was angry. This medical event would set me back a year in my nursing studies. I could only see the negatives- having an extra year of school, more debt, and a later date starting my career as a nurse practitioner.
But the psalmist reminds us “do not sin”. Instead, he offers suggestions on how to deal with the anger, such as pondering on emotions, “offering right sacrifices”, trusting in the Lord, and remembering how He has given you joy. I began to use my new gift of time to reconnect with God. I reflected on his word and purpose for me alone and in community through my NG and quad. CoTC and Boston College, along with my friends and family, reminded me of the joys of community and friendship. Slowly but surely, these small actions have strengthened my trust in the Lord and have given me peace at the end of the day.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
I think it is easy to follow this advice in times of distress; however, I find it more difficult to follow with more day-to-day issues or long-term issues. I am now busy as I am back in school. I am not as intentional with my relationship with God. I plan to use this Lenten season to reorient my time to God. I pray that if you are struggling with an issue, that this psalm may guide your relationship with God on that issue and that you may also use this time of Lent to reconnect with reflection, sacrifice, remembrance, and trust in God.
I am a Southern gal with roots in Mobile, AL who moved to and survived four winters in Boston. When I’m not busy with nursing school, I enjoy being outdoors and hanging out with friends and family.