“My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts; all your waves and your billows have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
(Psalm 42: 6-8)
Like these fallen oak leaves, the shattered bodies of thousands lie this afternoon across the Philippines. Waves and billows have crushed scores of lives and have shattered the dreams of scores more, so many of whom were already living lives perched on the edge of poverty and all its accompanying woes. Devastation stretches as far as human eye can see.
As we watch the pictures tumbling across our screens, we cannot help but ask the ancient questions that have haunted human life from the beginning of time. Why, God, why? And how are we to live and pray, and at this festive time of year, how give thanks in the midst of such chaos across the ocean?
I don’t have the answers. I can only lament with the psalmist of old and lift these shattered lives to God in prayer, praying as well for all those who will be offering help and sustenance.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
But in the midst of my lament, I want also to follow the psalmist’s lead. I want to listen in this dark, dark night for the song that I trust God continues to sing. Listen to know that we are not alone. Listen to be aware, if only dimly, that God is still the God of our lives and continues to command God’s steadfast love for us.
I went on the internet a short time ago to do just that, to listen. To hear any sound of hope that might be coming from the piles of rubble strewn across the news. And there I heard it—the sound of gentle grace notes rising through the rubble. A young woman by the name of Emily Ortega, after swimming through the waves and billows of Haiyan, reached a haven of safety and gave birth to a healthy baby girl at an emergency airport clinic in the city of Tacloban. Bea Joy Sagales.
Bea Joy Sagales!
Truly a song in the night.
Bea Joy Sagales
A small purple flower sturdily blooming in the pile of dead oak leaves.