Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call.
For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.
I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places.
I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger; for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to favor it; the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold its stones dear, and have pity on its dust.
The nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion; he will appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die;
so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days.
“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away at the mid-point of my life, you whose years endure throughout all generations.”
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall live secure; their offspring shall be established in your presence.
Like for many others, this was a rough winter. We lost quite a few plants over the winter, our front step started to crack from all the freezing/thawing, and several of our paving stones in our garden are now crumbling. Our next door neighbor shared similar experiences and I am sure we are not alone in this. While Spring has started to bloom beautifully, there are still some remnants of the withered plants from the winter such as these that we will need to pull and replace eventually. These remind me of the withered grass that the Psalmist speaks of early on in this Psalm. His heart, which once beat so warmly and strongly, is now stricken and withered. But if you look closely in the Psalm and look closely in this picture, there is life still blooming amidst the brush. There is a small sprout of green poking out of the dryness, just as the Psalmist moves to the hope and strength of the Lord towards the end. My prayer for myself and my prayer for others tonight is for the ability to see the light that still shines in the darkness and the life that blooms in the midst of dried brush.