April 21

Psalm 116:1-4

“Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, save my life!’” vs 4

The psalmist was in a buoyant mood; he had a story to tell and he wanted everyone to know his good news. He had been at death’s door, close to giving up his spirit, and very near to entering the dark haunts of the dead. At the last moment he had cried out to the Lord in despair, asking that his life be saved–and his prayer had been heard! In response he composed a psalm of praise and vowed his never-ending love for the Lord. We can understand his feelings. Perhaps we too have had similar experiences–it’s not at all uncommon to cry out to God when death draws near for ourselves or for someone we love. When all else fails, God is the one who is summoned, and sometimes, but not always, our prayers are answered and lives are saved. In those moments words of thanks come almost unbidden from our mouths, and we’re glad to affirm our love for God. But what about those other times, those occasions when fervent prayers go unanswered and death comes to stay? Those are real tests for faith, and some respond with unbelief. But not all! There are many whose prayers are not answered who continue to express their love for God. They have come to believe that their love for God is a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us and not dependent on answered prayers. And they are blessed in their mourning! 

Thought for the Day: What is conditional love?

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