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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Monday, April 27

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
My God, I put my trust in you.
—Psalm 25:1

Such beautiful language. We lift our souls to God. Or at least the psalmist does. I wonder, to whom do we really lift those souls?  To the little, implacable gods of competition and greed? To the less savory gods of the marketplace? 

It’s always worth asking myself this question. I can end up making offerings at the altars of lesser gods, gods taken for granted in this culture. The smug little idols of approval. The white- fanged gods of privilege and power. Oh, and don’t forget the stony-hearted idol of health, beauty and youth that dominates our culture.

The odd thing about lifting our souls to the wrong gods is that it’s not lifting at all. It’s a handing over. It’s a kind of entanglement and slavery in which the real life, the life of God dwelling within us, gets hog-tied. I for one need some friends along the way.

Friends who can say, “Why would you want to do that?” Or, “You should see the way your face lights up as you imagine that particular possibility.” I can’t really see my own soul. Maybe you can, but I need the help of good friends.

The psalmist assumes that this lifting of our souls happens out of trust. Perhaps that is our main dilemma. We don’t really trust God most of the time, and a lot of modern preachers don’t help us move into trust.

If God is trustworthy, God will grant us the freedom to grow—to grow into God’s image and likeness, as the early church proclaimed.  We are invited to become what Martin Luther called “little Christs”—through God’s mercy we begin to live lives that manifest trust and that bear the fruit of compassion and kindness.

What kind of lifting of the soul do you need now, in the singular circumstances of your own life?  Where are the tensions of trust showing up? Whatever and wherever that may be, begin with small steps, with one intention, one decision.

Trust comes by trusting—not in a particular outcome, or in a particular version of truth. Trust comes by trusting that you did not make yourself, or your family or even your grass. Trust comes by remembering to lift our souls to the Christ through whom all is created. Trust comes in glimmers and intimations, hints of newness.

Grant me, O God, the grace to begin to trust anew, even when loss has broken my heart and I do not know the way. Amen.