Psalm 41 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 41:9

Even my best friend, whom I trusted, 

who broke bread with me,

has violently turned against me.

But you, O Lord, be merciful to me 

and raise me up.  Psalm 41: 9-10

The youth in the congregation sent the Jesus doll with me on the sabbatical when I walked the C&O/Allegheny Passage.  I didn’t carry him, but he (and my husband) would show up here and there waiting for me.  For me Jesus shows up in the psalm too.  It’s hard to read these psalm verses and not think of the heartache Jesus experienced by the betrayal, denial and abandonment (like the old house in the photo) of the disciples at his arrest.  How could they let Jesus down right after he broke bread and intimately said, “This is my body given for you.”  Ah, well, we humans do screw things up, don’t we?  Actually, it is not the betrayed psalmist with whom I identify.   Sure, I’ve felt betrayed and let down and have had to work through pain and forgiveness.  But you know what’s much worse?  To know that I myself am one who has “turned against” a best friend.  I thought I was following what was “right.”  My friend knew it for a deeper rejection of who she was, and the relationship ultimately broke.  By the time I realized my “rightness” was based on self-righteousness and ignorance rather than acceptance and support, by the time I was the one whose heart had changed, my friend had moved on and efforts to make amends failed.  It has haunted me ever since. I hear the psalmist’s words as my friend’s words.  But I also hear God is merciful—to her and, yes, to me.

Suggestions:

1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

2. Or read all of Psalm 41 to discover how this verse fits into the psalm or to discover a different verse.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that illustrates this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s verse is from Psalm 42:1-2.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at http://elainedent.net or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.