My thoughts (Steve Adams):
O, God — I can’t take the pain any longer. I’m surrounded by people who don’t care, and I can’t get away from them. Genuine love, compassion, understanding, and integrity are off their radar screen. God (real love) is something they’ve completely forgotten, or never learned in the first place. The Psalmist is surrounded by these people, probably military enemies that sought to kill him. Can he escape? For us, thankfully, we’re not usually pursued by people trying to take our lives, but, haven’t most of us have had similar feelings to these at one time or another? It could be one’s family of origin that elicits these feelings, or one’s boss and/or work group, friend(s), or roommate(s).
The Psalm begins by blatantly painting the picture of this lonely, barren, and painful condition of forsakenness. The writer doesn’t hold back or try to hide how bad the situation is. And yet, following this lament, there are eternal, radiant, resurrecting rays of light pouring into the Psalmist’s soul. Why? Because he’s pouring his heart out to — and therefore connecting with — God, who DOES love him with compassion, understanding, and integrity. God, who knows and understands every heartache, every emotional injury, every longing that Her beloved son has ever experienced, is moved to action! ³I will arise² and help you, she says! The power of the universe is summoned to action! He will be protected from his adversaries.
This brings up a most interesting and crucial question. If God can protect us from those who hurt us, can God also transform broken relationships into healthy ones? Can a barren, bruising winter somehow be transformed into a verdant, blooming spring? The answer is a resounding Yes! As long as the one who was oppressed is able to let go of resentment and open up to the possibility that the oppressor can change. And, as long as the oppressor is willing to let go of their old ways and open themselves up to learn God’s love and wisdom, then, almost unbelievable transformation can happen. It will probably be baby steps at first, filled with stumbles, but forgiveness and humility can go a long way toward the miracle of restoring broken relationships!
And God can rise up to provide another form of deliverance. God can give us new friends people who delight our souls and help us bloom spiritually.
Thought for the day: When people hurt us deeply, we can be paralyzed into a passive numbness. But, this is the time to pour our hearts out to someone who loves us, God and/or a loved one. When we do, God provides a compassionate ear and comes to our rescue.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.