Signposts: Daily Devotions

Sunday, May 4

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror. My soul also is struck with terror, while you, O LORD—how long?
—Psalm 6:2-3

One of the best-known home remedies for a yellow jacket or wasp sting is the application of a baking soda paste. It’s nothing fancy—just ordinary sodium bicarbonate mixed with water—but it somehow “draws out” the insect’s venom and leaves our skin soothed and refreshed. If only there were such a simple poultice for the soul.

As it is, many of us suffer wounds that go extremely deep. We’ve been betrayed by someone we love, belittled by someone we respect, shaken by events beyond our control. Confronted by illness or fear, we long for the kind of healing that will make us feel whole again. But we don’t know where we should start.

While there’s seldom a quick fix for such weariness of soul, expressing our spiritual condition in some physical way is a good place to begin. Like the old-fashioned treatment for insect stings, the practice of giving words to our pain, or of embodying it through art or dance or music, can be an effective way of gauging our spiritual health. It’s a means of making our souls accessible, not only to our own attentive care, but for the gracious healing of God.

O God, when my spirit is wounded and in need of healing, help me to find a way to express what is deep within in and to open myself to your care.

The Signposts for May are written by Susan Hanson and originally appeared on in September 2004.