How Long O Lord? – Reflection on Psalm 35

Psalm 35:17 – “How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my life from the lions!”

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“I thought they were our friends,” she whispered quietly to her husband. “I know…” he responded, trying to comprehend where the relationship had gone sour.

“We were in their wedding and they were in ours! When Steve was in the hospital, you went and visited him every single day…” she continued lamenting all the times they had been there, good times and bad. The whole situation didn’t make any sense. They felt betrayed and attacked.

“I know dear,” gently trying to affirm her. “I dont’ understand either. They are angry at us for no reason at all…”

How Long Lord?

Maybe you’ve dealt with a relationship or situation where all you could pray was, “How long O Lord…” I don’t know exactly what David was facing, but from verses 11-14 and also 20-21 we learn that he was being attacked and wasn’t even sure why.

Some of the attackers may have had a relationship with David. David seems bewildered because those whom he fasted for, prayed for, and mourned over were now rejoicing that he stumbles and falls and looking for ways to trap him for no reason.

Overwhelmed

Both a prayer and a lament, David makes at least three requests; that God would fight on his behalf, his enemies would not be able to rejoice over his downfall, and that God would be his defense. David seems overwhelmed by his situation as he prays, “How long will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my life from the lions.”

Perhaps you know, probably too well, how it feels to wonder “how long Lord.” If you, like David, have ever asked God how long he was going to “look on” seemingly quiet, you are in good company. Perhaps while being attacked for no reason you have wondered, “how long Lord.” Maybe you have a dream, or desire, but life isn’t working out the way you want or hope, so you tearfully pray, “How Long O Lord…”

When we wonder why heaven is silent and we feel left on our own, the situation can be tough. Our eyes get clouded over with our pain, frustration, and disappointment, unable to see God’s presence. David, facing real enemies who wanted to do him harm and see him fail, cried out as he waited lamenting and wondering how long he would have to wait.

Better Days

Yet, David knew better days were ahead because of God’s faithfulness and looked forward to when those who desired his vindication would have great joy and “continually say, ‘Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!’” David knew then, he would one day tell of God’s righteousness and of God’s praise all day long.

Few of us like to wait, yet, God is faithful. God may not be on our timetable, and we may not understand why we are waiting, or that we have to wait, but know this; better days are ahead. We may never understand, but trust doesn’t need understanding, trust only needs to know that the One we trust will see us through and loves us beyond belief.

While you wait, may you experience the presence of God. And may that be enough.

Morning Reflection 3/26/12 – Psalm 31

Psalm 31

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
2 Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
3 You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
4 Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, LORD, for you are a faithful God.

6 I hate those who worship worthless idols.
I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.

9 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
11 I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.
12 I am ignored as if I were dead,
as if I were a broken pot.
13 I have heard the many rumors about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 3/26/12 – Psalm 31”

The Illusion of Leadership

Henri Nouwen writes,

The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there. Our lives are filled with examples which tell us that leadership asks for understanding and that understanding requires sharing. So long as we define leadership in terms of preventing or establishing precedents, or in terms of being responsible for some kind of abstract “general good,” we have forgotten that no God can save us except a suffering God, and that no man can lead his people except the man who is crushed by his sins. Personal concern means making Mr. Harrison the only one who counts, the one for whom I am willing to forget my many other obligations, my scheduled appointments and long-prepared meetings, not because they are not important but because they lose their urgency in the face of Mr. Harrison’s agony. Personal concern makes it possible to experience that going after the “lost sheep” is really a service to those who were left alone.

Many will put their trust in him who went all the way, out of concern for just one of them. The remark “He really cares for us” is often illustrated by stories which show that forgetting the many for the one is a sign of true leadership.

I’ve been discovering the reality of this the past year or so. It has caused me to wonder if by defining leadership by our projects and programs we have in reality moved away from the kind of leadership Jesus displayed. As my schedule gets filled, I find it more difficult to care for the ‘lost ones.’ As my time gets busy I find my view of the “greatest good” defined by the “numbers served.” Yet, the One I’ve been called to follow defined himself as one who was willing to leave the ‘numbers’ and search for the “one lost.” My my life be reflective of His.