Published on March 11, 2022

hands open to the sky

In His Hands

Recently I have been reflecting on Psalm 31, a scripture passage in the Old Testament of the Bible that many people have turned to during times of great unrest, uncertainty, and conflict. It is attributed to David, a person who would often call out to God in a mix of sorrow, appeal and praise.

These particular verses are meaningful to me – both when I think about my own life and also when I think about our Mission to extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.

Verse 9 reads, “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress.” [NIV] Our calling to serve in healthcare means that we often meet people at some of the most difficult moments of their lives. Our work is rooted in meeting the challenges of human illness, disease, anxiety and difficulties. To live our Mission, we must be merciful towards those in distress. And when we are feeling troubled, we know that we, too, can turn to both God and each other.

Verse 14 continues with “I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.” What a blessing – for which we can be thankful – that we are not tasked to confront these needs alone. Anchoring the science, skill, expertise and response to the needs of all those we serve is our faith in a loving God.

But the declaration in verse 15 is what I love the most in this psalm: “My times are in your hands.” Time and space intersect with those six words. Every moment of every day, every interaction with one another, every happening, every turn of events, all of it: our times are in God’s divine care. And when we are distressed, when we face calamity, when circumstances are beyond our control, we can remember that we are in God’s hands.

This Psalm, this heartfelt prayer, still resonates today. In fact, in late February, as it began to seem that armed conflict with Russia was inevitable, the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv, Ukraine, invited Christians to join with Jews in praying Psalm 31. And as the invasion has unfolded, the Ukrainian people have continued praying this prayer together – posting pictures and video of people coming together to restate their common faith in God and that “our times are in your hands.”

May this also be our prayer.

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