The Day’s Scripture
7 Lord, listen to my voice when I cry out—
have mercy on me and answer me!
8 Come, my heart says, seek God’s face.
Lord, I do seek your face!
9 Please don’t hide it from me!
Don’t push your servant aside angrily—
you have been my help!
God who saves me,
don’t neglect me!
Don’t leave me all alone!
10 Even if my father and mother left me all alone,
the Lord would take me in.
11 Lord, teach me your way;
because of my opponents, lead me on a good path.
12 Don’t give me over to the desires of my enemies,
because false witnesses and violent accusers
have taken their stand against me.
13 But I have sure faith
that I will experience the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord!
Be strong! Let your heart take courage!
Wait for the Lord!
Take note of the toggle from a tone of desperation and lament (7-9) to one confident security (10-4) in the voice of the psalmist. The worshiper begins with desperate, vulnerable pleas for God’s security and presence: when I cry out, have mercy on me; I do seek your face; please don’t hide it; don’t neglect me; don’t leave me all alone! Imagine the pleading of a young child who is lost, vulnerable, dependent, or unabashedly needing attention.
This child-like rawness peaks and pivots at the image of the Parent-God abandoning her, but there is also a turn to a “sure faith,” in the next part of the Psalm. The psalmist musters a deep-seated confidence in the Lord’s salvation with a litany of praise and assurance : the Lord would take me in; I have sure faith; wait for the Lord; take courage; wait for the Lord!
The beauty of the Psalms (and the whole of Scripture) is that they reveal the blessing embedded in vulnerability and child-like trust in God. In our vulnerability and wholeheartedness, we turn to our practiced, remembered, and drilled truth-telling and rituals of praise that lie at the heart of worship. God is truly near to the broken-hearted. Blessed are the poor in spirit. It is the children who will see and enter the Kingdom of God. Through open-souled worship we are able to sit in the tension of lament, and be uplifted into courageous waiting.
When you find yourself in a rough spot on the journey. Hostility, uncertainty, or suffering threaten to paralyze you in fear and anxiety. Or when you are overwhelmed by the division, the pain, the injustices, the lament of the displaced, imprisoned, and marginalized in the global village, allow God’s beauty to enter into the feelings of despair, rage, helplessness, abandonment, desperation, isolation, and/or loneliness without throwing them out. Carry this beauty on the road with you–recite it, repeat it, sing it, pray it, embody it, improvise with it, and share it with others on the journey. Take courage, and wait for the Lord!