I like encountering verses in the Daily Hours that have had personal meaning for me. Lately I have encountered these old friends:
"Blessed be the Lord for he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city." ~Ps 31:21
I love that picture of a quiet moment of love in the midst of a fierce battle. The city is besieged, overrun by the enemy. Sounds of war and death and violence all around. And yet there is a quiet space where love and friendship exists.
I think of the moment between Gandalf and Pippin in the Return of the King movie. Orcs and monsters are shattering stone and splintering wood. Pippin is terrified. His little hobbit ears are better tuned to jokes and songs than the sound of battle cries, screams of death and pain, or the relentless pound of battering rams. It's desperate. They are clearly outnumbered and will soon be killed. Gandalf spends a minute comforting his friend, describing life after death as peaceful and beautiful. The quiet moment gives Pippin the courage to face monsters, pain, and death. And they get up to rejoin the battle.
My life often feels like a besieged city. I am overrun with orcs and monsters and evil forces. And broken people. And a******s. All around me this battle rages and at times seems hopeless. Yet in the midst of it, if I quiet myself and listen, God comforts me with his presence, his word, and his love. I have experienced deep love and goodness in my soul, even when everything is an epic mess.
Another "old friend" I read this morning: "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and will save those whose spirits are crushed." ~Ps 34:18
A besieged city of a life means getting your heart broken and your spirit crushed. That's just how it is. And God doesn't snap his fingers and just make it all better. Life here and now is a mixed bag of joy and sorrow. But he is near. He has loved and held and comforted me over these years of battle.
The wonders of his love in a besieged city. I am thankful.