JENNY'S PSALM REFLECTIONS: 71 VERSE 9

Bird sitting in water

This week’s verse is Psalm 71 verse 9.

    "Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent”

Background:

Psalm 71 is a prayer for lifelong protection and help. Verse 9, alongside verses17 and 18, suggests that the psalmist is an old man, perhaps a king towards the end of his reign, seeking relief from distress in form of severe illness or the approach of death (verse 20), as well as the taunts of his 'enemies' asserting that God has abandoned him (verse 11). The writer affirms his close relationship with God as he speaks of the faith in God which has sustained him all his life (verses 5–6, 17), praying that God will not reject him (verse 9), declaring his witness to God's salvation (verses 15, 18), while asking for renewed health (verses 20–21) and the discrediting of his enemies (verse 13), then he will renew his praises (verses 14–16, 22–24). 

If you are older, you will understand the feeling of life changing and goalposts changing. My mother sadly suffered from dementia later in her life and she had always said “If I have to go into care, shoot me!” However, given the limitations she had to face, she adapted to a different life in a nursing home, and for the earlier part of her time in care she most definitely wanted to live life, although in a different way.

If you are younger, you may also have experienced “temporary or permanent moves of the goalposts” due perhaps to illness, injuries or stress. You may have had to change the pattern of daily life and see what it is like to not be fully physically or mentally well. We will all face troubles and adversities, the challenge is to see the patterns that emerge and what we can learn from them.

Middle age is also a difficult time when people realise there is time left but what have they done up to now? Where has time gone? This life stage is sometimes called the “second life” where time and energy can be spent on different things that individuals have a heartfelt desire to do, rather than the mundane grind of work. Of course, if you love your work, that is a true blessing!

No matter what age we are, we all have something to give. We can show how God has helped us in our lives and be a seed of hope for others. God does not forget us no matter how grey haired we are. He most definitely will not forsake us, and he wants us to live life to the fullest we can.

Meditation

1. FIND A QUIET PLACE. 

Sit comfortably but alert – feet flat on the floor, back pushed hard against the back of the chair. Start your reflection by being open and ready to God's presence.

2. Focus on your breathing.

Pay attention to in-breaths and out-breaths. You may think of breathing in God’s life and peace and breathing out any tension.

3. Be aware of your body.

Let your aches and pains be there. Rest your hands in your lap; you don’t need to be doing anything with them now. Rest your feet on the floor; you don’t need to go anywhere. Shrug your shoulders, ease your neck. Take time to become still and repeat verse 9 to yourself. no matter what our age, we may feel "cast off from God" and now is a time to reflect how you can move back to God. 

4. Say the verses aloud to yourself

 In the stillness, listen to what God might be saying to you. Finish with the prayer below. 

Faithful God, in youth, middle age and old age, may we know your protection and continue to proclaim your great salvation to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Posted on May 19th 2022

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