The psalmist wonders why God doesn’t step in. His prayer is rather brash: “Why, O Lord, do you stand aloof? / Why hide in times of distress?”
Most of us may feel this way once in a while, though our prayer might be more polite. This prayer may encourage us to be more brazen in our approach to God. Not only this psalm, but Job and Jeremiah suggest that God can handle anything we throw at him. God even praised Job for telling it like it is.
The psalmist paints a lurid picture of his enemies. They are proud, greedy, blasphemous, violent, murderers, spies. They may not be atheists in our sense of the word, but they simply take for granted that God doesn’t care. God will never catch up with them.
Again the prayer becomes bold and demanding, “Rise, O Lord! O God, lift up your hand! / Forget not the afflicted!” The tone of the prayer becomes confident: “ On you the unfortunate man depends;/ of the fatherless you are the helper.” Again, “The Lord is king forever and ever;/…The desire of the afflicted you hear, O Lord.”
We can make this prayer our own when we fear that evil and ruthless people are getting the upper hand, when we feel helpless and fear that God has abandoned us, when we feel at one with all the people who are suffering more than we throughout the world.
We can also imagine these words in the mouth of Jesus as he was persecuted in so many ways during his life on earth. Since he experienced such hatred and remained faithful through it all, we can gather strength and courage as we pray these words with him.
Photo: Mele Avery