Sunday, July 17, 2016
While I do not profess to be a world traveler well acquainted with all the customs and idioms of various parts foreign to here, I do know a bit about the South since I have lived in it all my life. Whenever folks start talking about eating, someone somewhere along the line is going to mention "comfort food." What is "comfort food?" It seems to vary from person to person, but it is the kind of food which touches more than just the digestive track. It may be the original "soul food," the food that brings to mind days gone by, memories of how it used to be, and even those loved ones who might have gathered around the table with us. For some it might be a bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich. For another it might be fried chicken and mashed potatoes covered with gravy.
Some foods do bring a kind of comfort hard to define. What I discovered in reading the 17th Psalm today is that it also speaks of "comfort food" although in this situation, it should more likely be called "soul food." The 8th verse of this chapter reads, "Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wing." A daily devotional guide often uses these lines as a kind of refrain in the nighttime portion of the reading. It has come to be a comfort to read those words again and again at night before going to sleep. At its core, it has become one of the evening prayers prayed to the Father as I move into the mysterious, refreshing, renewing hours of sleep.
Maybe you found a prayer like one in Psalm 17:8 which carries you from the conscious world into the depths of that world where the conscious part of us is taken off the throne. Asleep we are vulnerable to people who might break in to do us harm, but more likely what is true is that we are vulnerable to some of the unresolved struggles and issues of our living. Even as Joseph found some of his unresolved stuff getting worked out in his sleep, so it may be with us from time to time. In those moments it is comforting to know that we are guarded and protected by the Father God. Even as we sleep, He is with us, watching over us, caring for us, protecting us, and loving us.