Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. - Psalm 51:11-12
In my experience, loving relationships are rarely terminated because of a singular act of infidelity—as grievous as that act may be. In fact, some of the best relationships I know have weathered the storms of competing interests, insufficient investment of mutual time, lack of shared attentiveness, self-centered concerns, and the always-subtle temptation to take a person’s love for granted.
In my experience, what summons the end of a union is the lack of trust. One or both partners is unwilling to trust that the love once professed is strong enough to live past the hurt and pain of the indiscretion . . . and then faithfully to create the groundwork for a more intimate and a more solid relationship. I don’t know that people stop loving one another, as much as people stop trusting one another.
Some Bible scholars attribute Psalm 51 to the writings of Israel’s King David. It’s speculated that David wrote the Psalm after a deeply regretful episode of self-indulgence and disregard for God’s directives. Psalm 51 does not specifically confess the writer’s transgression, but it does highlight the writer’s trust in God, despite the transgression.
The psalmist asks faithfully that the act of disobedience not preclude the psalmist from the presence of the beloved Lord. In that presence, there is the perpetual promise of restoration, renewal and reconciliation. The transgression of the psalmist has been deeply harmful, but the trust of the psalmist is even deeper.
The season of Lent is the season of love’s endurance. Love can endure disappointment, pain and even disloyalty. But love never endures the separation of termination.
Lord, let my trust in you keep all of my loving relationships alive.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.