Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
The 143rd Psalm is known as a penitential psalm because of David’s somewhat unclear confession in verse 2, “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” This particular psalm is the seventh and last penitential psalm in the Book of Psalms. The others included Psalms 6, 32, 38, and 51 attributed to David, as well as Psalm 102 and 130 from unknown authors.
In today’s passage from this penitential psalm, David seeks guidance from the Lord in the way he should go. Perhaps David is asking the Lord to place him back onto a clear and righteous path, to renew his close personal relationship with Him, and to refresh his spirit so he might once again enjoy faithful fellowship with his Master. By placing his trust fully in the Lord, and claiming it aloud, David is assured that the morning will bring God’s unfailing love and grace back into his life.
I’m sure we have all encountered situations that have left us feeling just like David felt in the 143rd Psalm. Perhaps it was some sort of scandalous sin, serious sickness, earthly servitude, or sordid self-indulgence that ever so slyly pulled us off God’s perfect path of righteousness. As such, we longed, once again, to have close, personal fellowship with our Savior. So what do we do to get back on track? We courageously confess our sins, humbly ask for forgiveness, and seek renewed strength, direction, guidance, and perseverance from the Lord.
This is exactly what I do when I veer from the path of righteousness. But I have also discovered that a morning ritual of Bible reading, prayer, and devotion writing keep me focused on what’s truly important rather than on my struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease or the worldly passions that plaque many people’s lives. Spiritual morning rituals not only set the tone for the day but they inspire me to press on and persevere through difficult circumstances just like the Apostle Paul who wrote to the Philippians, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14).”
If you are struggling with dementia and have not established a daily spiritual routine, I urge you to develop one immediately and make sure Bible reading, prayer, and meditation are included in this morning routine. A daily spiritual routine will keep you on track and help you better handle the daily demands of dementia.
God must become the sole source of our strength. He must become the focus of our morning routines. If we can do this, then God can more readily show us the way. Then, like Paul, we just might be able to press on to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus!