My housemate and I enjoy Nature on PBS. Watching how animals behave fascinates me. During one episode, we witnessed a beautiful act of compassion. A baby elephant had been born into a herd. While the herd was traveling, a predator suddenly appeared. The adult elephants immediately surrounded the newborn so that he couldn’t be seen. They continued hiding him as they moved, keeping him from danger and demonstrating a selfless act of love.
The psalmist is facing an enemy that seeks to devour him. This opponent seeks to destroy the psalmist with lies powerful enough to ruin their reputation. In defense, the psalmist seeks refuge in God’s unfailing love by praying in the Temple and pleading before God. The writer counts on God’s steadfast love to surround them and asks, Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me (v. 8).
Seeing the elephants use their bodies to protect the most vulnerable member of their herd was a joyful experience because they demonstrated to me what love looks like. Lent is our opportunity to witness the wondrous sight of God’s steadfast love. As the Appalachian folk hymn proclaims:
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul, what wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of blissto bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
When do you feel like the world threatens to devour you? How do you seek refuge in God’s unfailing love?
Faithful God, thank you for your wondrous love shown through Jesus Christ, our Lord. May our lips always sing your praise for such an unspeakable gift. Amen.