Psalm 70 is a psalm for anyone (like me) whose faith seriously wobbles from day to day, moment to moment. It is a psalm that is a cry for help, and the psalmist needs help in a hurry. It is full of worry, of panic, and there is a growing sense of urgency as the poet pleads with God to respond:
O Lord make haste to help me!
… You are my help and my deliverer,
O Lord, do not delay!
(Psalm 70.1b, 5. NRSV)
Too often I want a God who is an on-demand-fixer of the discomfort of my now. Unthinkingly, I absorb the zeitgeist of immediate gratification and transfer it to my spirituality. I run after new insight, new revelation, new intensity, new sensation, all in a rush to find a reassuring feeling that I am in contact with You.
This psalmist asks for immediate deliverance from the situations where she is criticised, ridiculed and mocked; situations where it feels like everyone is against her; situations where she feels persecuted for being who she is.
This psalmist runs to God for sanctuary:
Let all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you.
(Psalm 70.4 NRSV)
Suddenly I am pulled up sharp by this reminder to rejoice. In the midst of all my frantic need for real change of the situations I find myself in, I am asked to rejoice?
I am asked to rejoice in You. I am asked to rejoice in Your steadfast love, in Your constancy, precisely at the very moment when I feel most in danger. And in order to rejoice I have to stop my hamster-wheel anxiety and be still; become utterly present to the I AM.
You are my present. Your presence with me is joy.
All the faith and trust I ever might need is in that statement. So I repeat that reconnection with Joy, again and again, growing gladness in me with every repetition.
In the midst of all my sorrows, God keeps calling me out to gladness: there are always, always, things to rejoice over, if I will but look.
Again I pray with the psalmist whose words I read yesterday:
open our eyes to light
(Psalm 36.9 The Message).
Again I pray with the psalmist whose words I read on Passion Sunday:
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life
(Psalm 51.10 The Message)
exercising my rejoicing muscles. (iPhone image).