I cry aloud to my God; I lift up my voice to God for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before God; to whom I tell my trouble.
When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who knows my way. In the path where I walk, people have hidden a snare for me.
Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
A Word of Hope
Today’s Psalm was famously written by David during the period when he was isolated deep in a cave, hiding from the onslaught of King Saul’s superior army. David was favored by the people, a superior leader to the jealous and vicious Saul in so many ways. He was being reluctantly recruited to lead a rebellion that would de-throne the wicked king, but his time had not come yet. The peasant army had not yet solidified their ranks and David was in hiding, pursued by the enraged monarch, and shivering alone in the claustrophobic walls of a damp and dark cave.
David cried aloud! He begged for mercy. His spirit was faint, and he listed his complaints. He felt trapped. If this is starting to sound like a metaphor for our times, we should not feel surprised. This Psalm has spoken to countless generations; people who have lived through the same kinds of desperation, sorrow of isolation, and feelings of betrayal that so many of us are experiencing daily.
While David may cry, “Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life,” we might say, “I look to my right and no one is wearing a mask! Not one of them is allowing me the refuge of those six feet that should separate us. No one cares about the lives of those around them. Their selfish attitudes tell me truly no one cares for my life!” As David cried out, “rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me,” referring to the superior ranks of Saul’s army, we could say the same thing about our fellow citizens whose numbers overwhelm us in their callous disregard for a set of vital but simple rules that could mean life or death to their own Grandmothers.
What did David do? He continued to follow his own rules of self-isolation. He made no foolish moves against his pursuers and did not expect God to miraculously end his suffering, because he knew that wherever he was, God was there also. He never lost sight of that last thread of comfort. “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living,” he declared, but he never stopped praying his continual prayer to be released from that isolated prison. The history of David tells us that, in God’s time, those prayers were answered and those who had also sought
out what was right gathered around him to celebrate God’s goodness throughout their trials. Their cries had been heard. God’s faith had never failed.
God of refuge, sometimes we look around us and we simply feel like giving up, overwhelmed by our situation, but we know by lessons from our own personal histories that you have never given up on us. Thank you for your eternal presence and for listening to us when we need to cry out the most.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare