20th February 2023

Soothing the soul 

When my anxieties multiply, your comforting calms me down.
Psalm 94:19 (CEB)

I was reading Psalm 94 and got a surprise when I came to verse 19. So anxiety is not a modern problem. I don’t know why I should think it is. Maybe I thought that simpler life styles would make for fewer anxieties, but that’s just not true. Anxieties have grabbed our minds throughout all ages and all circumstances of our lives and it’s common to all nations. It’s a worldwide, ages-lasting virus of the mind.

The Psalmist is talking about the times when our anxious thoughts are behaving like  hyper-hamsters on a wheel, going endlessly round and round. It often can happen in times of trial and difficulty.

Then the writer adds that God’s comforts calm him. The word which is translated ‘calms’, or in other translations ‘delights’ or ‘lightens’, literally means to stroke or soothe. It turns up in Isaiah 66:11, used for a nursing child and in Jeremiah 16:7 of a ‘cup of consolation’ given to mourners at a funeral. So you can begin to see that these examples of comfort and care at the beginning and the end of life give us some idea of the comfort that the relationship we have with God brings to us in times of trial. It’s like a gigantic hug from God, soothing us down. 

When we are overwhelmed with the busy, anxious thoughts that the difficulties of life can bring, we can see the astonishing comfort that comes from God that enables us to keep going when our minds are in turmoil. God is our forever caring Father. Jesus will never leave or forsake us. The Spirit doesn’t go off on holiday, finding it’s too stressful being with us. I think it is something we need to offer thanks for.

Father, we can’t imagine what it would be like to get through this life without you, without you in the times when life has got on top of us, and our heads are in a spin. Thank you for your calming comforts. Amen

Study by Hilary Buck


About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
Grace Communion in Lewes

The House of Friendship
208 High Street

Meeting time:
Sunday 11:00 am 

Local congregational contact:
Hilary Buck
Email:  lewes@gracecom.church

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