Help for Tough Days

O Lord, you are my portion and my cup;
it is you who uphold my lot.
My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
my heart teaches me, night after night.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor let your holy one see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 16:5–11, The Book of Common Prayer , page 600)

The Psalms have often been called the prayer book of the Bible. Why? Because they are a good place to go when you are looking for scripture to read, whether it is a time of joy and celebration, a time of sorrow, or a time of frustration or anger. The Psalms express the full range of human emotion. Psalms can be pleas for help or lament, songs of thanksgiving, or instruction about the nature of God.

Psalm 16 contains words of confidence, a song of trust in the Lord. As we read, we hear the psalmist express confidence in the Lord who is always there. Note verse 8 that says, “ I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not fall .” In ancient times, the right hand was the sword hand, the hand used to wield a weapon in battle. The metaphor used, then, is speaking of confidence in God as the weapon that will help in the battles of life. We can have faith in God who will carry us through the trials and rough times of life. Psalm 16 is not thanks for a perfect and easy life, but thanks for God being with us through the worst of times, for God fighting on our behalf through the trials and tribulations of life. God is the strength that we need; we can depend on Him with confidence, to face whatever may come our way. We are reminded even more of having confidence in God during this Easter season! We are people of resurrection, and we celebrate and trust in our assured hope of everlasting life, assured to us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Prayer for today from St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen .
The Book of Common Prayer , page 126

The Rev. Lisa R. Neilson
Associate for Pastoral Care and Women's Ministries