The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, August 23, 2022, comes to us from Victor Lugo Pérez of Puerto Rico.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:7-12 NRSV
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 NRSV
Years ago, I felt empty and wrapped up in loneliness. One day I was walking aimlessly down the road, and a passing driver offered me a ride. We drove to the city of Caguas where I listlessly asked for money on the street so that I could take the bus to San Juan. I arrived at night and sat near a pier. I thought, life is not worth living, and walked toward the edge of the water. I noticed a piece of wood on the ground, and when I stopped to pick it up, a pocket-sized New Testament, that someone had given me earlier in the day, fell out of my shirt pocket. When I picked it up, it was open to Psalm 23. I cried when I read the verse: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
I walked a long time and finally stopped at the Salvation Army center. The people there welcomed me and offered me a room, toiletries, and bed sheets. I stayed for several days and began to experience God’s love. Today, twenty years later, I am secure in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is my savior. I am never alone because he walks beside me.
At some point in our lives, many of us have felt as if we were alone. Maybe it was the ending of a relationship, the passing of a beloved family member, or the realization that our so-called friends didn’t have our best interest at heart. We may not have arrived at the depths of loneliness that Victor describes in his reflection, but we have felt alone. In those moments it is helpful to remember that although we may be by ourselves, we are not alone. God is always with us, offering us hope amidst our despair and peace amidst our confusion. Over time, and with God’s reassuring presence, the feelings of loneliness fade.
Hear our prayer, merciful God, and fill our hearts with your love. When we feel lonely an empty, lead us from the darkest valley with your saving grace. Amen.
--Victor Lugo Pérez
Someone who is lonely
Thought for the day:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NRSV