Across a Lifetime


Psalm 30:1-5

“I give you all the credit, God—
you got me out of that mess,
you didn’t let my foes gloat.

God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.

All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.”

I meet (somewhat sporadically) with a woman who is both older and wiser than I. We pray, read scripture, and talk about life. These times are filled with laughter, insight, companionship, and sometimes even sadness.

Yesterday, she opened our time together by reading this bit of Psalm 30 from Eugene Peterson’s modern translation on the Bible, The Message. She read it through three times. The tripartite form echoed that of Lectio Divina, so I quietly asked my heart what God’s invitation to me from this passage might be.

 “…once in a while, but across a lifetime…”

“…across a lifetime”


I was smitten. The contrast of “once in a while” and “across a lifetime” spoke peace to me. Because it’s easy to pay attention the “once in a while”, isn’t it? “Once in a while” is usually clamoring and loud, sometimes hard, often demanding. It says that where we are right now is the whole story. And it’s lying.

Thankfully, the Psalmist gives us an alternative promise: “across a lifetime there is only love”. The idea of a lifetime might not be glamorous. Certainly my own has been neither flashy nor loud. But it can be the place of quiet consistency – the quiet consistency of God’s love through many “once in a whiles”.

4840786805_fb81a93963_bHow can I choose to listen to the quiet and steady voice of my lifetime? To cast aside the sometimes-painful “once in a while” in favor of the promises given to me and to generations before me?

By the good news of the resurrection. By grace, the grace of life eternal.

-Ellie Poole

(Image by flickr user kern.justin via creative commons.)

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