How to Rest in Hope – Reflection on Psalm 54

Psalm 54:1-7

Hiding

I remember wonderful times of youth, playing Kick the Cans or Hide and Go Seek. In my neighborhood, all the kids would gather across the street and we would play until it was too dark to see.

I was pretty good at hiding, which was extremely helpful in both games. I could find great hiding places and would only come out if everyone’s focus was somewhere else.
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Hope in Darkness – Reflection on Psalm 43

Not Always Good Times

If I follow God, everything will work out alright. At least that is what I want to believe. In order to hang onto that belief, I have to forget history and that none of the Apostles had a particularly easy life. I have to forget that the 2nd-century church father Tertullian wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” I must forget that some of the most faithful followers of Jesus experienced horrible circumstances.

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Disturbed and Downcast

Psalm 42

Disturbed

Twice the Psalmist asks, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”

Can you identify? Something’s wrong, deep within. Perhaps, like the psalmist, we can’t figure out what’s wrong. The psalmist asks his soul for answers, but gets none.

Maybe we all have these experiences. Life comes at us hard and fast dragging us down to the depths of despair. When we come up for air we realize, something isn’t quite right.

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Morning Reflection 3/13/12 – Psalm 22

Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility

To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;
17 I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nationsshall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

Disappointment can come at any time. We believed that God was with us. We knew of his love. Yet, amid the trouble surround us, God is silent. We pray and we pray, but no answers come. Darkness surrounds us. Is God going to answer? Will God come through?  Has God abandoned us? Continue reading “Morning Reflection 3/13/12 – Psalm 22”

Morning Reflection 2/29/12 – Psalm 13

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1    How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2    How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3    Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4    and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

5    But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6    I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

via Psalm 13 (NRSV) – Biblia.com.

“How long, O Lord?” is a prayer that we have all prayed. Sometimes it seems like God has forgotten. We pray and pray, but heaven is silent. We wonder, “How long will I have to wait? How long will I have to hang on?” We want to trust God. We want our faith to be strong. Sometimes it seems impossible. We believe if God doesn’t answer soon, we won’t be able to make it. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/29/12 – Psalm 13”