Parts of Psalm 31 have been important to me during much of my life. The first five verses are very familiar because they appear in the service of Compline which I love and often say at the end of the day. I read Compline to my late husband during his long hospital stay or in visits to the emergency room. Verse 5: “Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O LORD, O God of truth” comes into my head in times of trouble, when I am conscious of trusting God and turning my life over to my Creator.
Another line from Psalm 31 has an even longer history in my life, and in my almost-subconscious: “My times are in your hand.” This line was first called to my attention by a dear friend when telling me about her mother back in New England who had been diagnosed with cancer. My friend reported that her mother was surprisingly calm and that she claimed this verse of Psalm 31 as her own for guidance. I was a young mother then, preoccupied with my family and my daily life, and I remember marveling at my friend’s mother’s calm assurance, and storing it away in my memory to puzzle over as a treasure. Many years have passed since I first became acquainted with this prayer. These years have brought me several health crises, of family members and my own, and I have come to cherish and adopt the affirmation “My times are in your hand.”
Another image from Psalm 31 catches my imagination in hard times. When I feel closed in with troubles, and see few options for relief, I remember
Blessed be the LORD! *Somehow thinking of myself in a “besieged city” gives me a new perspective and I remember once again “the wonders of God’s love.”
For he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city.