Every day is the same. Every day is hard.

Being a single mom with three young children is not the life she chose but it’s the hand she has been dealt. Once, she had the love of a wonderful man. A man who cherished her and the kids. Now, she is on her own. Cancer has an ugly habit of doing that sort of thing. It changes every life it touches. Some permanently. She knows things could be better, but it does no good to dwell on impossibilities. She’s too busy working two jobs, helping her kids with their homework, and trying her best to keep her sanity. Every night, she reads to her youngest and together they say a goodnight prayer. And every night, she prays from the depth of her soul, a few simple words that do not pass her lips, “Save us, I pray.”

He’s been trapped in a hospital bed for the better part of three months.

He’s tired and more than a little lonely. For reasons he cannot understand, his body has decided to not function correctly. It is frustrating and leaves him feeling helpless and alone. He reads. He watches TV. Occasionally, he is visited by friends and family, though their visits are too brief. It’s not their fault, really. They have their own lives and concerns and spending more time with him is not always possible. He understands all of this but that knowledge doesn’t make the pain of isolation any easier to take. At night, he stares at the ceiling and quietly cries, “Save me, I pray.”

By most indicators, his life is good.

He has everything he has ever wanted: Stability, success, and most importantly, love. Family is what matters most and he has been fortunate in that regard. A loving wife and two beautiful and healthy girls. His professional life has not disappointed either. He is up for a raise in a few months and he has every reason to believe it’s a done deal already. Work, home life, friends – he has it all. He has checked all his boxes. Yet, most nights he goes to bed with a nagging feeling that something is missing. It’s a vague, uncertain desire he has no way of quantifying or categorizing. So, he struggles to sleep and his only recourse is a hesitant, tentative murmur, “Save us, I pray.”

Nine years old and she’s lived more life than most.

Every morning she wakes to face the day, eyes alight with an unquenchable joy. She rouses her little brother, readies him for school, and begins the two-mile walk. Life is anything but easy but she follows the still small voice that beckons her to hope. After school, she returns home and handles her daily chores on their small plot of land. It’s harsh and unforgiving in the Somalian climate, but the work goes on. That night, the family gathers for their evening meal and they sing a song of praise to the Giver of all good gifts. Before bed, as her eyes close from exhaustion, she quietly and reverently whispers, “Save us, I pray.”

Every one of us cries out for help, for grace, for salvation.

In our moment of deepest longing, we yearn for that which can only come from our Creator. We cry, “Save us, I pray” though we do not always know the source of our hope or salvation. It is the cry of our hearts – from a place of pain, suffering, and loneliness. All are lost at sea, buffeted by the winds and the waves. We lift our beleaguered hands in the air, our voices quickly follow. We reach out for a saving hand we scarcely believe is real. Our faith is a weak and wretched thing, yet it is all we have. All of creation cries out, our voices building into a mighty crescendo. 

Save us, we pray, O Lord! Make your face to shine upon us!
Save us, we pray, O Lord! Show us your steadfast love.
Save us, we pray, O Lord! Make your face to shine upon us!
Save us, we pray, O Lord! Let your mercy cover us forevermore.

Phill Lytle

I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, 80s rock, the Tennessee Titans, Brandon Sanderson books, Band of Brothers, Thai food, music, books, movies, TV, writing, pizza, vacation, etc...

3 thoughts on “Hosanna

  • April 10, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Reality…tinged with hope. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

  • March 28, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Great reminder. Most everyone lives, at one time or another, “a desperate life.” Thanks for pointing us to hope.

  • March 28, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Phillip, that was meaningful, true, and beautiful. Thank you.


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