12 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
I had never seen this woman before. She sat toward the back of the small parish I once served. My eyes were better then, and I could tell during the service that she was weeping. When the service was over, the members of my small parish arose and we greeted one another at the door. But she stayed. I sat down in the pew in front of her and introduced myself.
She had long been away from church. A rebellious young woman she had married a man of whom her parents did not approve and moved far away. Now she had children of her own and had a growing sense of something missing in her life. The rhythm of liturgy, absolution, scripture, and hymns had somehow connected with that empty place and uncorked a lot of emotion. We talked a long while that morning. The psalmist prays that God would satisfy us with his steadfast love so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. All of us need to be taught to number our days that we have that heart of wisdom. The fiery certitudes of youth need to be tempered in all people. He refreshed this woman that day. She went on to become a great friend and member of that little parish. I really had no idea that the service and sermon which I had prepared would be an instrument for God to work such good on that day. He showed me His work that day and I praise Him for it. He establishes the work of our hands, and His favor is upon us.