Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, December 13, Evening
By Janet Edwards
Making Room for God
Read Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Working as a hospital chaplain has taught me to listen for God speaking to me through the patients I serve. Recently, a patient, struggling with a life-threatening illness, shared something her mother had taught her when she was young: “It’s not enough to invite God in, you have to make room for God. If you let anger and fear fill your heart, there is no room for God there.”
I wanted to offer reassurance: “It’s okay to feel angry and scared; you are grieving. God will not abandon you in your suffering, God is with you!” But I knew that was not what she needed; and so, I listened … with my heart.
Before this visit, my getting-ready-for-work ritual was to listen to the news on NPR. By the time I arrived at work, having listened for the entire commute, I was anything but the ‘non-anxious presence’ a chaplain is supposed to be.
Clearly, I needed help making room for God. So now, I begin my day by praying Psalm 51.
Advent is a time to make room for the One for whom there was no room at the inn. Immanuel comes to make a home in us, to abide with us. And so, I pray to be a hospitable home for God, with ample room for peace and love to dwell:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Amen.
Janet Edwards serves as the Chaplain with Trident Health Systems in North Charleston, South Carolina.