But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. (Psalm 69:13)
Struggle and alienation are sometimes part of our lives. We don’t search for it – we are miserable when it happens. But at some points in our lives we may have experienced the breakdown of important relationships and have felt the pain of feeling isolated and alone.
The problem is, sometimes when things break down in one place in our life, other places can suffer as s result. People we relied on in one chapter of our life are now distant and no longer available to us. We may need them more than ever, but we lose them and the relationships seem to simply rub salt in the wounds we are feeling. We can even wonder what’s wrong with us and be overly aware of our own brokenness.
The end result for the Psalmist is introspection. The writer of this Psalm has felt victimized but the result was looking inside and remembering all the mistakes that had been made. Guilt and self-doubt have set in. The Psalmist’s family has left. Even fellow members of the faith community have become distant. Jesus’ disciples remember this Psalm when he clears the temple in of the money changers.
When life gets like this, only grace can restore it. The strands of the relationships are so fragile and tenuous that no one seems to even be willing to work at it. Only God can provide hope. Yet faith still whispers a confident voice in the Psalmist’s ear: “Your troubles may seem to big to be overcome, but God is still God. There is always hope.”
The ground of all our hopes is that even when the world seems to have turned its back on us, the God who made us and loves us continues to work to restore us and bring us new life.