Lately, I’ve been struggling with fatigue. It’s been really hard to find the energy I need to get through the day. Psalm 139 keeps coming to mind. It’s one of my favorite Psalms because it promises that there is no place we can go where God is not already there. For those of us who struggle to find health and wholeness, this is good news. I’ve rewritten the psalm to express my own prayer to remember that God is present in all times and places, God sees my wholeness when I see only brokenness, and God’s love remains steadfast through everything. Perhaps you will find hope and comfort in these words as well.
A Version of Psalm 139 for the Hard Days by Rachael Keefe
O Lord, you have been with me all along; you know me.
You know when I want to give up and when I am full of hope; you know my thoughts and my feelings even if I deny them.
You are with me when I greet the day with enthusiasm and when I don’t have the energy to get out of bed. I am not a mystery to you.
Before I can express myself, or know how I feel, you accept me as I am in every moment.
You are ready to catch me if I fall, lift me up when I am low, and hold onto me when I am anxious or afraid.
It’s hard to imagine that you love me all the time; sometimes I forget how amazingly strong your love for me is.
Where can I go where you are not already there? Where can I go where your love is not already waiting for me?
If I am filled with joy and energy overflowing, you are with me. If I lose my way in the depths of sorrow, you are with me.
If I push myself to the limits of endurance in body, mind, or spirit, even in those moments, you love me. You wrap me in your steadfast love and don’t ever let me go.
If I give in to the despair and cannot see your love and everything fades away, even in my worst moments, your love still shines; the bleakest of my moods and the depths of my pain do not extinguish your love for me.
It is true that you made me in your image.
I praise you, for I am fiercely and beautifully made. I am part of your creation and all that is yours is priceless.
My life – my brokenness and my wholeness – are not hidden from you and have never been.
You have known me all along. Your desire for me is a life filled with love and a future filled with hope. You do not withhold these things from me.
It is hard to think like you do! When I try to understand your love, I am overwhelmed.
I try to count the ways you love me and there is no end. Your love has more facets than I can imagine.
I wish you could take this illness from me! I wish you could take away my despairing moments, the thoughts of worthlessness, and the pain of it all.
Some say that these are a punishment for my sins. I do not believe it! You see me whole while others see only my brokenness.
Allow me to see myself as you see me. May I also see others as you see them.
May my life reflect your love. May I forgive those who judge me and know so little of your compassion.
When you search me – my thoughts and my heart – may you see the fullness of who I am, all the strengths you have given me, the intricate person you created me to be…
I know there is illness in me, but that is not all of who I am. Lead me into the wholeness you create in me and teach me to love with your love, starting with myself then encompassing all my neighbors.
Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe
Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is an author, and the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, MN. You can find links to her blog, video series, and books at Beachtheology.com