O GOD, GROWING OLD makes me unsettled and takes me away from the familiar.
Once I had a career, a family to raise, a home to maintain.
But now it feels as though my work is done.
My purpose is little more than a vapor — a thin, elusive trail of smoke that quickly vanishes into nothingness.
Lord, is it wrong that I still yearn to be needed?
To know that I matter to someone? To know others value my life lessons?
I bristle when younger people talk to me as if I am a child. How easily they forget that my life experiences far outnumber theirs.
Still I confess sometimes I impose my advice with little regard for their feelings.
Forgive me, Lord. Remove the self-pity from my heart.
When I feel left out because I can’t keep up with the pace of change, may I take refuge in your steadfast love.
Remind me that you give me purpose as long as I have breath.
Show me how to use these late years to influence others without lecture or judgmental comments.
Flood my heart with grace so that I become an example to others of how to age well.
- Missy Buchanan
JESUS COMES to proclaim that we are God’s beloved children, that what the government says we are doesn’t matter, that what the powers and principalities want us to believe doesn’t matter, that our brokenness doesn’t matter. We are God’s beloved children, and this is what matter. We are commended to live as if we know how deeply we are loved. Anxiety and worry are not our inheritance.
When we find our center, our calm heart in Christ, this is the peace that cannot be taken away by the world. … Breath by breath we ask God’s love to become our experience. Prayer by prayer we hold ourselves open to the possibility that we can live and feel and experience life as beloved children of God.
- Jane Herring
AT CERTAIN MOMENTS I feel angry with God because God has allowed bad things to happen. Since God is all-powerful and loving, I don’t understand why divine intervention cannot prevent tragedy. Can I forgive God? At a seminar with Father Thomas Keating, that question hit me forcefully.
I resisted thinking about it, because I am only a creature, while God is the Creator. Yet the question comes down to whether I will accept what happens and be grateful that God works in the midst of the difficulty. With that attitude, when death takes my daughter-in-law or other tragedies occur, I can accept what is, let go of my anger, and forgive God.
- J. David Muyskens
THIS ANCIENT HEBREW PRAYER invites us to see God’s work and celebrate it:
Days pass and years vanish, we walk sightless among miracles.
God, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing.
Let there be moments when your presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk.
Help us to see wherever we gaze that the bush burns unconsumed.
And we, clay touched by God, will reach out in holiness and exclaim in wonder,
“How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it!”
- Rebecca Dwight Bruff
JESUS SAID, “I AM THE VINE.” He talks [in John 10:1-18] about how the sheep know the shepherd and the shepherd knows and cares for the sheep. We might not really understand that, but we can think of the way a loving parent cares for a child or the way you might take care of a pet you love.
In your prayer time, thank God for all the ways God cares for and protects you.
WIDOWS HAD IT TOUGH during Jesus’ day. Unlike the modern era, women commonly did not have occupations that brought in money. No insurance policies, pensions, or government grants helped widows survive financially. They gleaned the fields for food or went to the Temple for assistance. When the father of a household died, his brother usually took the responsibility to look after his wife. When there was a son in the family, he would take care of his mother.
Luke 7:11-15 tells us of a widow who has lost her only son. Not only must she contend with losing her child, but she faces the terrifying prospect of survival without a breadwinner in the house.
We read that Jesus notices what is taking place before his eyes and feels compassion for her. The miracle of raising the widow’s son has value just as it is. But Jesus addresses more than a mother’s grief for her departed child. By raising her son, he also restores her dignity. …
Focus for TodayFocus on an action that will bring dignity to a person forgotten by family, the church, or even society. You could do something seemingly insignificant; simply listening might enable that person to feel a sense of self-worth.
Almighty God, we so easily walk past the suffering and pain of people around us. Even when we think we know about their pain, we do not take note of their deeper struggles. Help me today to follow your example – to stop, to look, to feel compassion, and to engage. Amen.
- Wessel Bentley
FRIENDSHIPS and intimate relationships are treasures–gifts from God–to be tenderly held and carefully cultivated, never to be rushed or taken for granted or used for any other purpose than honoring the mystery of the other. For when our relationships take root in reverence, our life with others and our life with God is truly one life.
- Dorothy C. Bass