Friday, March 30, 2018

Death Confronted Me

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so I shall be saved from my enemies.
The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
—Psalm 18:1-6

The psalms teach us to pray. Even the psalms that pray for revenge are a lesson for us not to hide our feelings from God—the sentiments in those psalms sometimes seem unrighteous, but in none of them does the psalmist take matters into her or his own hands, leaving vengeance to God's.

But today's psalm is especially poignant and is a vivid reminder to turn to God in dire straits. That this prayer is prayed on Good Friday is especially meaningful: I was being bound by death, flooded by damnation, entangled in annihilation, confronted by the very act of dying: Yet in my distress I prayed to God, and God heard me.

My prayers may not always be answered as I would like, but they will be heard, and I must be satisfied that God's will is more marvelous than my own. Enough that I should pray with my Lord (Mark 14:36): 

Dear Father, for you all things are possible. Take this cup from me—yet, not what I want, but what you want. Amen.