do not hide yourself from my supplication.
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am troubled in my complaint.
I am distraught.
Isaiah spoke to some scared people, "Don't fear people ganging up on you. Turn your attention to the Lord. Some people can see only distress and darkness, but you can see a great light."
Hear an excerpt from Handel's Messiah, Wonderful Counselor.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
"I prayed to God to rescue me from my torment," Paul wrote. "I didn't get the response that I had wanted, but I did get the one that God thought I needed."
A lot of troublesome theology can be and has been derived from this passage. Yet, I want to hold on to the hope that is in it. Whatever happens to me, I can benefit from it, I can use it, to do God's work.
Carl R. Holladay, in Preaching through the Christian Year B, reminds us that Paul's rival evangelists had used their skills to prove that they were more powerful than Paul. He's saying that they may be winning a game but that it's not the right game.
What he knew only well was that "weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities...were more frequent and typical of his apostolic life than were visions....In this respect, his life was analogous to that of Christ. Indeed, the crucifixion of Christ came to symbolize human suffering experienced in response to a divine calling....Psalm 55:1-23
As I read this psalm, I am thinking about the videos we in Memphis have seen of the assault by a mob in a Kroger parking lot. Like the psalmist, we want refuge from outrage and strife. I pray, however, that we can refrain from the more vindictive verses in this psalm and focus on the reminder that the Lord takes care of rescue.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
be wise enough to desist.
When your eyes light upon it, it is gone;
for suddenly it takes wings to itself,
flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Prayer for Today: In times of despair, pray Psalm 55.