Wednesday of Lent II – Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    You have given me relief when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
    How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
    ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
    and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
    Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Though he was despised by many when he was in office, Harry Truman has come to be one of the more popular presidents of recent memory. The last president who was not a college graduate, he in some ways embodied the everyman. But his presidency was a time of tumult and matters of lasting import. He came to office after a very brief stint as Vice President, only having met with Pres. Roosevelt once prior to the latter’s death. He entered office with a world war raging. He would authorize the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, oversee the establishment of a new world order after the war, was integral in the founding of the modern Israeli state, and eventually lead us into the Korean conflict. You might have strong opinions about decisions he reached, but you must admit it was quite the time to be president.

According to his biographer, one of the most remarkable things about Truman, however, was his ability nap. He was a firm believer in the power nap, took a nap every day. People asked him if had trouble sleeping at night making decisions that cost thousands of people their lives. He never did. He said he always was able to sleep.  

Did you read that last line? The psalmist, David, is surrounded by all sorts of adversity, particularly the vain and feckless people who besmirch his name and speak lies. He urges them to trust in God. Yes, there are things that trouble us, be angry about some of them (vs 4) but do no sin. Ponder in year heart upon your bed and then go to sleep. It is in God’s hands. He will hear when I call. I can silence all the voices who rage in my interior conversations. I can change little of what makes me angry. God must do that. In peace I will both lie down and sleep.

Truman was not theologically trained. A very private man, he did not share a great deal of the content of his faith. We know he prayed. We know he read his Bible. We know he went to his grave a Christian. We know he slept well.

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