Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Psalm 74 (NRSV)
O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,
which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.
Your foes have roared within your holy place;
they set up their emblems there.
At the upper entrance they hacked
the wooden trellis with axes.
And then, with hatchets and hammers,
they smashed all its carved work.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrated the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it to the ground.
They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
We do not see our emblems;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how long.
How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand;
why do you keep your hand in your bosom?
Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the earth.
You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
You cut openings for springs and torrents;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you established the luminaries and the sun.
You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
you made summer and winter.
Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs,
and an impious people reviles your name.
Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
Have regard for your covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.
In talking about this psalm with Avery Sartin, an intern where I work, he shared some insights that I think you will also find helpful:
God allows all of us to struggle in order to put us into the state where God can work through us for something bigger. It may seem like the world just keeps beating you down and God is missing in action, but the struggles God allows in our life is are by design. They only make us stronger.
The psalmist seems to have pleaded with God, but then challenged God. It wasn’t until I thought deeper into the why that I realized the psalmist wasn’t necessarily challenging God but challenging the world around him through God. The author was reminding himself and the enemies of the people that God not only provides, but protects. God won’t play games with enemies. So put your trust in God and challenge this world and the evils in it.
God, give me the wisdom to see that struggles are a part of life that can be turned into triumph, allowing me to grow in faith. Let your strength shine through me as I try to make it through the challenges in my life. Give me the courage to wait to let you act in my life and the understanding to know that your solutions may not always be pleasant, but they are effective. Amen.
Go with God.