I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 46:3-4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
3 Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from your birth,
carried from the womb;
4 even to your old age I am he,
even when you turn gray I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
I like Eugene Peterson’s translation of this passage in The Message:
“Listen to me, family of Jacob,
everyone that’s left of the family of Israel.
I’ve been carrying you on my back
from the day you were born,
And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.
I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.
I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,
carrying you on my back, saving you.
What a comforting message for the children of Israel to hear! What a comforting word for us to contemplate: God carries us as a loving parent from the day we are born until we are old and gray. What a wonderful image—being held by our loving God all our lives, through difficult times and times of celebration, the challenges we face, and the times of smooth sailing.
When Agnes Frasier Brown of Summerville, South Carolina, turned 100 in 2018, people often asked her to tell them the secret to a long life. Everyone wants to know how she made it to 100 years old. She summed it up this way: “Hard work and praying.”
Mrs. Brown had vivid memories of her childhood in downtown Charleston, her struggles raising four children on her own after her husband died, and all the times she spent in prayer or worship.
In those 100 years, she witnessed some truly great, historic moments and some very difficult times. She remembered how bad things were during the Great Depression, how many people were starving, and how people put newspaper in their shoes to patch holes in the soles.
As an African-American, she dealt with segregation and discrimination during much of her life. She grew up living under the oppressive Jim Crow laws of the deep south. She recalled having to sit in the back of the bus and waiting outside of restaurants to be served because people of color weren’t allowed to enter. She sat in the balcony in movie theaters.
She grew stronger as she faced the unfairness and difficulties of her life—particularly when her husband died, and she had to raise her children on her own. She worked two and three jobs at a time to provide for her children.
Here are some of the things she said in an interview with her local newspaper:
I tried to live a good life, a happy life, work hard and love my church. I love people; anybody I can help, I will help. And still do.
I had to work every day, but I made it.
The good Lord helped me. He’s still helping me. (https://www.postandcourier.com/journal-scene/news/summerville-centenarian-reflects-on-her-life-faith-and-secrets-to-longevity/article_87ccb298-241d-50c3-bc7b-d093ca3d9e4e.html)
She would affirm the psalmist’s words, speaking for God: “I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born, and I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.”
Hymn: “I Sought the Lord”
anonymous (ca. 1890)
I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true,
no, I was found of thee.
Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold,
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.
‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold
as thou, dear Lord, on me.
I find, I walk, I love, but, oh, the whole
of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee!
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul,
always thou lovedst me.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster