LOOK HERE for recipes, quotes, music, books, environmental stewardship, faith, etc

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Played the Man

This quote rung my bell today.

The power of the truths expressed, and the breathtaking way Sayers crafts her sentences are both utterly stunning to me.
For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is--limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death--He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it was well worthwhile.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World, Eerdmans, 1969, p. 14

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy New Year

Today is the first day of Advent, where the church around the world spends the next 4 Sundays looking forward to celebrating the "First Advent," otherwise known as Christmas.

Advent came alive for me last year as I taught on it in two places - at church for an adult Sunday school class, and with the students at Providence Hall. Sadly, it took those opportunities to discover what I'd been missing.

The word "Advent" comes from the Latin word adventus or "coming." It's a time of reflection, pondering how it must have felt to anticipate that first coming of Jesus some 2,000 years ago. What I didn't fully comprehend is that as we celebrate that first coming we are to learn how to await a second coming -- patiently, yet expectantly. So when we light the candles -- usually designated as hope, joy, love and peace -- we should allow ourselves to be challenged in these spiritual disciplines. In other words, how do I live in hope, joy, love and peace throughout the year?

But even more, I was awakened the most in realizing that Advent is the start of the church year. This is where I was really missing the boat. For Christians, our liturgical year starts with Advent -- then is followed by Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost. Pentecost is followed by a lovely season called "Ordinary Time," which simply means "counting the days." Not only are we to weave the celebration of these holidays into our lives, but we can also adapt our spiritual disciplines according to what Christian holiday we are preparing for or celebrating.

That's where I am now -- discovering the beauty and depth of building my life around my worship of God with his church, and not just my calendar year. Follow some of the links I've listed -- seriously, it's worth exploring. Make your daily devotional life connect with it all -- it will have profound effects, I promise. I talked a bit about this a few days ago in reference to a new devotional I'm using. If you can't afford the book, or want to try it on -- go to the daily website called Common Prayer. Warning: you will be hooked.

So I am making some new New Year's Resolutions -- praying according to the liturgical year, reciting some prayers from church history, and following the lectionary in terms of my Bible reading. I pray that all these disciplines help me grow deeper in waiting expectantly. I am grateful that in Christ I have been born again, and that he is always birthing new life in me daily.
Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Making Soup: Updates and Memories

Last night, as we were cleaning up from the big feast, I asked if I could take the turkey carcass home. Not surprisingly, no one fought me for it. I wrapped it up in foil nice and tight and then sealed it up in two ziploc bags. I shoved it into my big canvas bag that I was taking home that night.

Being the carless one that I now am, I had made reservations for the Amtrak about 3 weeks ago, patting myself on the back for being so smart and well-planned. I drove my scooter to the train station that morning, and in my ignorance was surprised to discover that I certainly was not the only one who came up with that idea! We crammed on board like sardines, and chugged on our way. My housemate picked me up 40 minutes later and we headed over to her family's home for a day of eating, napping, playing and watching football.

At the end of the day I packed up my bags and said turkey carcass and headed home -- thankfully on much less empty train. As I fell into bed last night I thought about how I would make soup out of my foil-wrapped bundle. It might sound crazy, but I really looked forward to it.

It was fun to think about because I knew I had nothing but time today to do so. It's a lazy holiday. I'm not one to brave the crowds and go shopping, so I'm letting the day unfold, with no attention to time. That feels like pure relaxation to me.

What I'm discovering too is that I am getting used to a slower pace. This was one of my goals in selling my car: it has put on the brakes and simplified my life.

Initially one might think that living life without a car would make things more complicated; but it actually causes the opposite, because immediately you have to accept that you do less each day when transportation requires a plan.

If you have followed my decision, you will know that this it is linked closely with my desire to eat seasonally and organically. As I said in my post on Oct 30,
...Between the way I'm choosing to eat (organically, seasonally, with very little processed food) and the way I'm getting places that I'm spending more of each day in making those two things happen. In the 21st century this might sound a little crazy. But it's working for me. I'm opting for slow and steady over fast and furious.
So today's big project was making soup. I knew it would take all day, and that seemed perfectly fine and normal to me. As I started breakfast, I also started a stock pot filled with water and my traveling companion Mr. Turkey Carcass. I also took home the celery and carrot sticks from the yesterday's afternoon munchies platter, and chopped up some of those for the stock. I added a teaspoon of garlic salt and a bay leaf, and set it all to medium low for 2 hours.

Going slow today is also a way of remembering my sweet friend Claire Carey. Her 36th birthday would have been today. Claire's slow and steady decline from a brain tumor was a study in putting on the brakes, especially in the last two years... incrementally walking more slowly, taking longer to get things done, listening carefully as words and thoughts took longer to formulate. Overall, strength waned and speed disappeared -- but her red-headed will maintained throughout. She stubbornly asserted her wishes, even when it meant minutes of waiting as she shuffled to the bathroom on her own, lifting a bowl of oatmeal out of the microwave, or getting dressed. This was life for Claire, and I needed to learn how to let go of my ever-present drive to get a lot done.

As I look back, I see that the main thing I "got done" with Claire was that I simply spent more time with her. I miss that. Her smile, her questions and her red hair (or lack thereof, depending on where she was with her treatments) are all still just right there for me. Our precious conversations on the big red couch - looking at photos, writing her email updates, crying, laughing, or praying - are great gifts I hang onto.

I thought about all that as I kept making the soup. After two hours of simmering I lifted out the carcass and set it aside on the cutting board. Meanwhile, I started roasting about 6 cloves of garlic in some olive oil, along with more diced up celery and carrots. I carefully strained all the broth through a sieve, dumping out everything left on top of the sieve. The broth was shiny, with a thin sheen of fat on top that I skimmed off.

I set myself to slowly picking off all the meat left on Mr. Turkey Carcass. This is a tedious process. But I wasn't in a hurry. I had Christmas carols cycling through the stereo: James Taylor Christmas, Jim Brickman, Westminister Abbey, Christopher Williams, George Winston. Glorious.

Kitties tail-talked around my feet as I picked away at the bird. Perhaps a piece or two landed on the floor...? I picked and tore and diced and nibbled my way through. I set aside some for a little turkey salad (diced turkey, a teaspoon of mayo and some garlic salt), and collected a surprisingly large pile of turkey for the soup. Periodically I'd push around the garlic cloves and vegetables on the stove. I set aside one clove and smeared it on some toasted bread, then piled the turkey salad on top. What a lunch!

I rooted around in the fridge for other vegetables to add: a couple of turnips left over from Fairview Gardens (it's amazing to me how long they last), a zucchini from last week's share. Chopped them up and threw them in. Added a couple of potatoes, plus a cup of arborio rice and spices: sea salt, oregano, sage, basil. This was my "manna" soup -- it would be made out of the supply God had given to me this Thanksgiving. Nothing needed to be purchased. I felt so thankful.

When I pulled the carcass out of the broth, it looked done -- used up and ready for the trash. Instead, I picked and tore and kept looking over it for scraps of turkey here and there. Regardless of how many times it turned over in my hands, I kept being surprised by little nuggets of meat hidden here and there. I thought more about Claire as I did this. What did she teach me in her last months? Slowly I realized that she taught me how to keep squeezing life out of the little scraps she was given. I watched her lose so many things to cancer over the years, but she kept at it regardless. She sent cards, she gave hugs, she dropped off flowers, she held your hand and asked questions. She gave to others until the very end, and lived life fiercely.

I will eat my day-long manna soup tonight for dinner, and be grateful. In the midst of profound loss and sadness, I am thankful. I am different for having known Claire. As I said at her memorial, I have been "changed for good." Take stock of your own life. Is it time to slow down and squeeze more out those gifts in front of you?

Today, in my devotional reading, these verses in Revelation 22 resonate with what I'm thinking about:
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Live with your eyes on heaven -- Revelation gives us a picture of what awaits us. Enjoy those gifts in front of you now as tastes of eternity. These are promises of resurrection life.

As for me, I will keep trying to "make soup" out of all of life -- taking my time and picking over those things I've received in order to enjoy them as much as possible. Feel free to join me!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Yesterday was a hearty day of learning for me. It started in my Foundations of the Faith class at Providence Hall. We finished up a month-long series on Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. (Note to self: a month is not nearly long enough! Especially when I only get to teach on it twice a week. But something is better than nothing, right?)

It's a mixed bag in terms of how much students got out of our discussions. Lewis uses language that is so intricate and thought-provoking. And sometimes, just plain hard. So it takes awhile for teenagers (anyone, really) to shift gears into his vocabulary and logic. But it is so worth the effort!

In yesterday's meeting we spent time looking at two letters from the end of the book [Spoiler alert: if you haven't read the book, I'm giving away the ending here...] Letter 28 is a review of how the demons Uncle Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood have worked at tempting and deceiving and "muddling" the "patient." This book was written in 1942, so the heavy presence of the war, compounded by the carpet bombing of London, is prevalent as a ready source of discouragement and temptation. As a class we then spent time together thinking about and comparing how we are tempted in sunny Santa Barbara in 2010.

One of the many wonders of this short novel is how Lewis gets us to see how even the stupefying horrors of war can be used to bring believers closer to God. More wondrous still is how Lewis resolves the book. The "patient," a new believer tormented in various ways by Screwtape and Wormwood, nonetheless thrives in his faith, despite various ups and downs -- or "undulations," as Lewis terms them. Then the book ends with a big surprise -- the patient is killed during the bombings. As one student told me, "this actually brought me to tears. It took my breath away to realize that this was a good thing."

Indeed, amazingly, this is a "happy" ending, because the demons' efforts at destruction and damnation are thwarted. The patient ends life in this world loving his Savior, safely in the arms of the "Enemy," as the demons refer to God Himself.

As a school, we reviewed what we'd learned from our time reading through Screwtape:
  1. Beware of how subtly and persistently Satan wants to destroy you. He will never give up.
  2. The greatest weapons you have against temptation are prayer and godly, unselfish love.
  3. This life is not all there is. We are sustained as we realize that we are being shaped for eternity. Develop a hunger for heaven...
There are a world of things I could say about those 3 lessons learned. But one thing in particular really hit home. The daily Nouwen quote that arrived in my email inbox said this:
If we do not wait patiently in expectation for God's coming in glory, we start wandering around, going from one little sensation to another. Our lives get stuffed with newspaper items, television stories, and gossip. Then our minds lose the discipline of discerning between what leads us closer to God and what doesn't, and our hearts gradually lose their spiritual sensitivity.

Without waiting for the second coming of Christ, we will stagnate quickly and become tempted to indulge in whatever gives us a moment of pleasure.
By sending this quote yesterday, I believe that God was using a "holy highlighter" with me, reinforcing the very words in my own life that I was to be teaching to others. I was reminded to strengthen my heavenly appetites, not my worldly ones. God is most satisfying when I allow myself to be hungry for him, "waiting patiently in expectation for him." If I eat the "junk food" of this life instead, I gain a false sense of fullness that leaves me shallow and wanting.

Thus I enter Thanksgiving, the beginning of the new church year (starting with Advent on Sunday) wanting to feed myself with Jesus even more, stoking the fires of true spiritual hunger. But where do I start? Providentially, a great opportunity to do so arrived in my mailbox the very day!

I have included a photo of the book that arrived. It has just been released by Zondervan, and its title is simple: Common Prayer. The subtitle says a bit more: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. One of its authors is a friend of mine, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. I can't even begin to describe all that it includes. But simply put, it's a unique sort of daily devotional, especially useful for groups to use too. I am so excited to get started on it. It provides a generous yet challenging structure for deepened prayer and devotion. I am going to get it for friends, and recommend it to everyone I talk to. I suggest you do the same... perhaps we can start a quiet little revolution!

I say all this not just because I want to support my friend's book (though I do!); but because I was reminded in multiple ways yesterday that, when it comes down to it, I have one fundamental prayer in my life:
He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30, NIV)

Restated in other versions:

He must increase, but I must decrease. (NASB)

That's why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. (The Message)

One paraphrase I heard states it this way: "Less of me, and more of Thee."

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Advent, Happy next year in Jesus Christ. Stuff yourself with more of Him!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Still Waiting

Nouwen builds on the theme of waiting from yesterday:
How do we wait for God? We wait with patience. But patience does not mean passivity. Waiting patiently is not like waiting for the bus to come, the rain to stop, or the sun to rise. It is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.

The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means "to suffer." Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God's glorious coming.

My life is full of waiting: for lost ones to know the Lord, for unrealized hopes to come to life, for struggles to get easier, for fears to end... So I want to understand this active waiting that Nouwen is describing, in order to enter the moment, as he says, and find the signs of Jesus in the strain of it all. Otherwise, I just bear down and endure and somehow hope the yuck and hurt go away.

In Romans 8:19, the Apostle Paul uses this word "waiting":
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
That phrase, waiting eagerly, is apokaradokia in the original Greek. It is only used here, and in Philippians 1:20,
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.

One commentator, Kenneth Wuest, breaks it down this way:
Apokaradokia comes from apo (away), kara (the head), dokein (to watch). A watching with the head erect and outstretched. Hence a waiting in suspense.

The Greek scholar Colin Brown says this:
Translated as anxious waiting. The Greek fathers, however, interpreted the noun without any negative tinge as intense anticipation, strong and excited expectation... free of fear and uncertainty... bearing witness to the fact that the power of expectation does not lie in strength of feeling but in the certainty which God has given and which is peculiar [unique] to hope.

In other words, I don't have to generate some sense of excitement on my own and pretend I'm happy all the time. Instead, I must lean into God's spirit to give me peace and rest and deep hope -- a hope that is secure, and as it says in Romans 5:5, does not disappoint, because it is anchored in God's love for us.

This week I have watched many of my students eagerly await the opening of the latest Harry Potter movie (friends too perhaps?!). They stay up late for midnight showings, they talk about favorite characters, they dress up... this is all fine. (Admittedly, I don't get it, but I won't judge).

But if I understand all these smart Bible scholars, it is apparently possible for us to be that excited in the midst of our struggles and trials as well, "watching with our heads erect and outstretched," as Wuest describes it. It's a mental picture that helps me get my head and heart around this concept of active waiting.

I know I am not there yet. But "Christ in me, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) can reveal it to me. In my Benedictine devotional yesterday I was called to live ordinary life with extraordinary awareness and commitment. May it be so, Lord Jesus.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Active Waiting

An outstanding quote from Henri Nouwen this morning:
Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for. We wait during Advent for the birth of Jesus. We wait after Easter for the coming of the Spirit, and after the ascension of Jesus we wait for his coming again in glory. We are always waiting, but it is a waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God's footsteps.

Waiting for God is an active, alert - yes, joyful - waiting. As we wait we remember him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember him we create a community ready to welcome him when he comes.

I pray I may embrace patience in my waiting, rather than just try to keep distracted to somehow make the time pass more quickly. As I get older, the things I wait for become much larger and deeper. I am realizing that I still must learn how to actively wait.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

High School Students (part 2)

I spontaneously posted some thoughts about my work with high school students last week. I didn't really expect that the week that followed would give me so much further food for thought.

Tomorrow we have a Preview Day for prospective students at Providence Hall. It looks like close to 40 jr highers are showing up to spend the day and get a taste of high school life with us. This is the first time we've done something like this, and I'm excited.

Sometimes people say to me, "I don't know how you work with jr. highers... I hated jr. high." I don't really see how your own experience of jr. high should color your feelings about jr highers themselves, but oh well... What I usually say is something to the effect of, yes, I didn't really enjoy jr high either. But I've worked with students for so long that I have seen the other side. I've gotten to see how many of them turn out as they get older. So the investment, though there are no guarantees, makes the risk worth it to me...

As it says in Psalm 27:13-14,
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Seeing the fruit of one's labors, the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, even only once in awhile, is so encouraging. And that is a gift I've been given far more than I deserve. Just this week I had 4 different wonderful reminders...

Early in the week I received an email from a student who graduated six years ago, who is now working with jr high students at her church on the other side of the country. This is part of what she wrote to me:
Thanks again for all you did in my life... just so you know, at the end of every email from now on you will be getting one of these sappy "thank you's" because I'm understanding more and more how much hard work goes in to really loving and discipling kids and just how hard it is in general!
I asked her to tell me about her girls, and got a very long email detailing all the sweet quirks and challenges of each one. It was lovely to hear Jesus in her words.

A few days later I received a phone call from a guy who is away at college, who met, of all people, another one of my former students who is now teaching at the same college (that makes me sound so old!) He couldn't really wrap his brain around the whole concept that I loved him and I loved this other guy so many years before and how long I've been at this thing. I saved the message on my voicemail archive because it was just the best.

Then tonight I heard from another student (I'm telling you, this was a good week!) who is student teaching and trying to decide between many great options for her next steps. We talked through teaching, campus ministry, and other things. Just hearing her excitement, while treasuring in my head the mental picture of her loading on the bus for camp as a 5th grader, gave me deep, deep joy.

This morning I read Psalm 73 before church. Every word, though written many centuries before, seemed uniquely addressed to me. As I finish up my day though, these are the verses from it that sum it all up best:
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

Working with youth is like the winding road at the top of this post - twisting, with some treacherous turns and many unknowns. Though we may get carsick a few times, these are also the kind of roads that take you to stunning mountaintop views. I like that part.

So I enter tomorrow seeing those jr highers not really for what they are like now, but for who they might become. Pretty great stuff.

Monday, November 8, 2010

High School Students

I have worked with high school students since 1982. As I told one of them the other day, I've been doing it for so long that we used dittos when we needed to make flyers. I can't believe the difference now in terms of technology. Sheesh.

Regardless of the many ways the world has changed in that time period, one of the best things about them that hasn't changed is their sense of hopefulness. I do not usually find teenagers to be hardened or cynical. Believe it or not, they still have a great sense of wonder. They are still idealistic. They love adventure. And these things inspire me and keep me feeling young. (Shush! No smart remarks...)

Just tonight, a large group of students from Providence Hall served at the Rescue Mission. We've committed to going once a month -- but it's still a very new experience for most of them. I got nervous this morning, wondering if they were ready to go for it tonight. But here are some of their posts on Facebook about it are a delight (yes, there can be something redeeming about FB):
  • Rescue Mission was great tonight!!! I wish I could do it more often :) I'm anticipating next month!!
  • definitely felt God's presence at Rescue Mission ! cant wait for next month!
  • Great night of worship at the rescue mission! Glory to God!
  • Had a great time at the rescue mission.. I was so touched by some of the conversations I had :) I can't wait to go back.
Let's not give up on 'em, people. They are worth the hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I promise.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1Timothy 4:12)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Almost Alfredo

I can barely type this because I'm still in a food coma from this meal.

It is not just good. It's not just really good. It is RIDICULOUS. I am in such a happy place right now.

And best of all, it's crazy simple. This has shot to the top of I-am-starving-and-need-to-make-something-fast list.

Thank you Vegetarian Times. Find the full details there.

ingredient list

serves 4

  • 8 oz. dry linguine (I used Trader Joe's Rice Noodles)
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced and 1 Tbs. zest grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (or fresh basil)


1. Cook linguine according to package directions in pot of boiling salted water.

2. Warm cream cheese, oil, and 2 Tbs. lemon juice in saucepan over low heat. (Do not let it get too hot)

3. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Stir reserved cooking water into cream cheese mixture. Add pasta, lemon zest, and parsley; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Run For Your Life

I've been cruising through 1 Timothy this week. There have been so many stunning verses. But these two in chapter 6 press in on me:
Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses. (verses 11-12)

I hold that passage in one hand, and this great reminder from Benedictine reading in the other:
Eventually we must all settle down and do something serious with our lives, and every day we must make a fresh beginning of it.
May you be able to see the daily opportunities in front of you to run, to seize, to pursue... they are always right there.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I Want

I'm in a new Bible study with some great friends -- some old, some new. We are reading Benedict's Way (by Homan & Pratt) together. It contains 30 readings on various aspects of Benedictine spirituality. The goal is to talk and pray together about spiritual depth, devotional discipline and balance in life. Topics like prayer, work, silence, hospitality, service, learning, friendship... it will be a feast.

Last night's topic was prayer. Here is a quote from the reading. It speaks for itself:
“O God,” I said, and that was all.

But what are the prayers of the whole universe more than expansions of that one cry? It is not what God can give us, but God that we want. (George MacDonald)
We ended the time together by praying through Psalm 34. I am re-reading it this morning in the Message. What a banquet to draw from in this psalm. Here is guidance as to how to push aside the stresses of the "now" and live today in the "not yet." Enjoy.

Psalm 34

1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.

2 I live and breathe God;
if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy:

3 Join me in spreading the news;
together let's get the word out.

4 God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

6 When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

7 God's angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

9 Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

11 Come, children, listen closely;
I'll give you a lesson in God worship.

12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can't wait each day to come upon beauty?

13 Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.

14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don't let it get away!

15 God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.

16 God won't put up with rebels;
he'll cull them from the pack.

17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

18 If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there;
if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath.

19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

20 He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.

21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.

22 God pays for each slave's freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.