Psalm 27:10 (NIV)
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
This verse might seem a bit strange appearing in the same Hebrew Bible whose fifth commandment is to “honor thy father and mother” and much of whose Pentateuch teaches the importance of embracing one’s genealogy, but the Hebrew Bible is rich in ambiguities, and for me personally Psalm 27:10 offers a wonderful opportunity to find divine solace in dealing with parents who forsook me.
It’s beyond my capacity to judge the cause of that forsaking – perhaps from lack of the capacity to care, perhaps from resentment at their responsibilities, perhaps from feeling threatened by perceived competition. Whatever the cause, emotional abandonment resulted in confusion, anguish, and difficulty finding a life trajectory.
The opening words of Psalm 27 read, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” How, then, am I to proceed in order to find this light and this salvation?
I suggest three steps are to be taken.
Step 1 is to acknowledge fully and completely that one has been forsaken. It is all too tempting to imagine that the problem can be corrected: Change one’s behavior, or talk it through with one’s parents, or wait patiently for them to change. This is all useless. To be forsaken means that none of these imagined escapes will work.
Once step 1 has been accomplished, step 2 is to ponder and pray how the Lord, who exists throughout and beyond all space and time, could conceivably replace the loss of my parents’ personal love and concern. I have come to understand the profound mystery that the Lord can be both transcendent over all the universe and at the same time be deeply immanent in each of us, and in particular in me.
And once steps one and two are completed, there comes the life-transforming stage of step three — opening the door of my heart and inviting in the Lord. And the marvel is that I don’t even need to throw open fully that door. Even nudge it open just a bit, and the Lord will enter – heartfully, purposefully, and powerfully.
And at that moment the Lord becomes my light and my salvation.
Father in heaven, help open my heart to your love.