Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Thanks after struggle - Psalm 18

I recently had a spectacular, painful fall.  I was at the bottom of a garden, behind a rockery, well out of sight of any neighbours.  Fortunately, I didn't break any bones, but I hurt almost everything else it was possible to hurt; knees, arms, back, head, neck, shoulders and a good many body parts I'd never been aware of before.  And because I'm still rebuilding after knee surgery, I simply couldn't get up.  I knew that absolutely no one would be able to see or hear me, or even know that I was there.  So the only way I could get myself back to safety was to crawl, inch by painful inch, back to the house, negotiating rocks, paths and steps on the way.  And once there, I collapsed and eventually found the strength to inch my way to the phone to ring for help.  It took me two hours and was one of the most painful and totally exhausting things I've ever had to face.  It was a monumental task and I couldn't have done it without continually crying out to God in prayer.

In the following few days, I was unable stop giving thanks!  I gave thanks that I didn't fracture anything, that I didn't knock myself out, that I wasn’t still lying in the undergrowth with hypothermia, that two friends finally arrived and lifted me into a chair, that I was safe and warm, and recovering.

And all this reminds me of my words on Psalm 18, in "Dwelling in the Psalms" ...

A contemporary interpretation of the psalm ...

Taste and see:
the Lord protects
those who call on him;
he is close to the broken-hearted,
sends his angels
on a rescue mission,
delivers them
from their troubles,
lifts their downcast hearts,
ensures that they lack
no good thing.

Turn to the Lord
with your lips
and your lives.

Fear not:
he is close,
very close.

And my devotional reflection ...

This is a psalm of exhortation, borne out of experience: ‘I sought the Lord, and he answered me’. Building on the memory of answered prayers, ‘tasting’ God’s response in times past, gives the writer of this psalm confidence to have faith in the goodness of God for today. The Lord has rescued him before and will do so again.

If we honour God with right living, when we depend on him and praise him in our darkest hours we will know his protection and strength. We will taste and see that the Lord is on our side.

For more reflections like this, with the addition of prayers for all 150 psalms, why not pick up a copy of Dwelling in the Psalms?

It's available through Amazon, online here and from all good Christian bookshops.