Actually wrote this a couple days ago, just posting today:
I’ve been using Forward Day by Day (www.forwardmovement.org) off and on for years as a supplemental daily meditation to the office. And June 1, my neighbor (from a very different tradition) gave me a copy of Our Daily Bread (www.rbc.org) – a counterpart in use at her church. I’ve been using both this month. Today there was an interesting correspondence between them. (This is a bit of a surprise, since Day by Day is a commentary based on the lessons in the Episcopal Daily Office Lectionary, and Daily Bread seems to seems (I may be missing something) to be a thematic commentary on a randomly chosen passage of scripture.)
Our Daily Bread uses the first verse of Psalm 57 as its scriptural base. In theSt.Helena Psalter (which I use) the verse in question reads:
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
for I have taken refuge in you; *
in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge
until this time of trouble has gone by.
In the meditation (by Dennis Fisher) what is quoted is “My soul thirsts for you … until these calamities have passed by.” What he says is that if we have inflexible expectations of how God will work in our lives, we can run into trouble. And he compares this to how the engineers who built the Trans-Alaska Pipeline used “Teflon sliders” to ease the shock of earthquakes on the pipeline. In the 2002 earthquake, the ground shifted 18 feet to one side without damage to the pipeline.
He suggests that we move our focus from our problem to God, trusting God to get us through painful and confusing circumstances.
Forward Day by Day uses the tenth verse of Psalm 77 as its scriptural bases. Again, in the St.Helena Psalter it reads:
And I said, “My grief is this: *
the right hand of the Most High has lost its power.”
As it notes, this is a rather stunning verse. Many of us sometimes feel this way. Few of us are really willing to give voice to such a thought. But, as the writer (unknown to me) notes, the psalmist not only voices the thought – voicing the thought is a turning point for the psalmist. In the next verse, the psalmist commits to remembering the works of God (in the past). And from there the psalmist the next nine verses talk about the power of God.
And the suggestion is that bringing our grief to God can be a comfort. But the challenge that follows is to set aside grief and trust God’s power – no matter what the situation.
These are different approaches to dealing with troubles in our lives. At least they are framed differently. But it seems to me they supplement each other. There is a kind of correspondence between them.