“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
I am finding it hard, beloved reader, to respond positively to this psalm passage. Because I am fearful and afraid. I have not kept it secret that I have health issues. At the best of times my health is fragile. In the past day, however, it has gotten dramatically worse since I have a cold. A cold, you may say. How can that be serious? It is serious if you have lung disease; the usual cold medication imperils my health because of the side effects. It takes me twice or three times as long to recover from a cold. And it could well mean that I will not get back to my baseline of my previous health. It is tempting to ask of the psalmist, what do you know of fear for health and well-being?
As I stop and reflect, I reminded that physical infirmity does in no way decrease nor dissuade faith. In fact, clinging to the power of the Divine is sometimes the only way I can get through these times of ill health. But I still fear and am afraid.
“One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent: he will set me high on a rock.” (Verses 4 – 5)
One, among several things, that chronic illness has given me is an appreciate for ordinary and simple pleasures. I do not ask much from life. I do not cling to the promise of longevity and know that my journey to death might be hastened, more so than other people’s journeys. I do not fear the end of my life, my death. What I fear is the days that come before it, what I will have to endure. I know what will happen to me after my death, and it will be glorious. My hope and pray is during those last days I will find the shelter in the Divine, and when there comes suffering that is greater than my endurance, I will find comfort in the Tent of the Lord God. But the comfort I seek I do not think is the same that the psalmist seeks.
“Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!” (Verses 6 – 9)
Do you hear that, beloved reader? Do you hear the psalmist pleading for comfort from the Lord God in the form of the favor of the Lord? This is also why this scripture passage does not resonate within in. I do not seek victory amongst or from my enemies. I know full well the day will come that my health issues will overwhelm me. I also know that my ill health is not the result of the Divine casting me off or forsaking me. And the fact that I have not been “miraculously” healed is not evidence of the Lord God’s disfavor.
As I ponder this passage even more, I feel sorry for the psalmist that he has gotten to the point in his life that he pleads like this to the Lord God. Beloved reader, to be fearful and afraid is not a sin or something to be ashamed of. Yes, I fear for my health and what it may mean for what I cannot do in the future. But I know the Lord is with me, and that all that is really and truly important is that my fear does not separate me from the Divine – but that it draws me closer to my Lord God, and that I feel the mercy and protection that is promised to all of humanity. Selah!