LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Words to Read Aloud

For a while now, I've been reading scripture aloud to a sick friend. She's not always awake when I read, but I believe that the words comfort her anyway, that they soak into her heart and mind and soothe her. It's the Word of God. How could it not reach her in some way?

As I'm reading the passages, I'm thinking about her life, her journey thus far, and the lengthy path she has ahead of her to recovery. I'm thinking about dark times in my own life, about loss, about suffering. I'm thinking about the hope she and I have in Christ--hope for today and for always.

Sometimes I read Psalm 104 to her. It's one of my favorites because it reminds me that He is bigger than sickness and sadness and suffering. He is the Creator of the universe--and of us, too. He is the Author of beauty, and His work stuns us with His glory.

Here it is. Read it aloud, and see if your circumstances suddenly seem smaller.

Psalm 104

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent

3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.

4 He makes winds his messengers, [a]
flames of fire his servants.

5 He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.

6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.

7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;

8 they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.

9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.

11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 The birds of the air nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.

13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:

15 wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.

16 The trees of the LORD are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17 There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the pine trees.

18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the coneys. [b]

19 The moon marks off the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.

20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.

21 The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.

22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
they return and lie down in their dens.

23 Then man goes out to his work,
to his labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.

26 There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

27 These all look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.

28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.

29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.

30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works-

32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD.

35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD. [c]


Pam said...

Thank you for sharing this - it was good to be reminded again of the power of the spoken Word. I love how you said, "It's the Word of God. How could it not reach her in some way?" It reminded me of Is. 55:11 which says, "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void...." Psalm 104 was powerful this morning as I meditated on it.

I also just wanted to say I've enjoyed reading your articles in "Christians in the Arts" - thanks. This is something I'm exploring in my own life right now, so they have been helpful.

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...


I was thinking of that Isaiah verse as I wrote the post! Knowing that His Word has power beyond what we understand helps me as I read to my friend (and to myself).

Thanks so much for your comment and for reading my blogs. I'm glad you're finding them useful.


Brenda Leyland said...

LeAnne, I too read comforting passages to my own dad during the last days of his life here on earth. Like you, I truly believe God's words can reach regions of the heart when nothing else seems to.

I love the reminder when you say He is bigger than sickness and sadness and suffering.... We see only in part, God sees the whole picture.

I heard Him say to me once about a situation in my life, "I saw the end and it's good"..... After I heard that whisper in my heart, I totally relaxed with the outcome of that particular incident.

Brenda Leyland said...

Hi LeAnne, Just want to let you know there's an Award waiting for you at my site today, so you can come by and pick it up!



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