Psalm 91:1-16 (NIV)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.  9 If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge– 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.  14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91:2 (NRSV)

[You] will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”

DEVOTION – Avis Hoyt-O’Connor (Maryland)

The woman I was visiting had asked me to read the psalm to her; so I should not have been surprised that as I read, she whispered the words, “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”  When I stumbled in my reading, the words poured forth from her.  She told me afterward she had carried that psalm in her heart though some difficult days.  She had been a refugee form a country torn by poverty and violence.  After making a new life in the United States and starting a family, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I was her hospice chaplain.  I spent time each week reading to her and praying with her.  I was new at the job, and she showed me that the words of scripture are themselves balm to a tired soul.  I had read scripture in private devotion, Bible study and worship, but I had seldom read scripture when I visited those who were ill.

Now I read scripture during many of my visits.  The word of God, without commentary or preaching, comes into our darkest valleys as a source of great comfort and peace – for my patients and for me.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The words of scripture bring us hope and direction.

PRAYER:  Gracious God, thank you for your grace we find in the words of scripture.  Thank you for the comfort and healing your bring as we read and listen to your word.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Those in Hospice Care and Their Caregivers