In times of struggle or stress it is hard to imagine a way out, and it is just as hard to believe that God is with us through those dark times.
In our Psalm today, the author begins by reminding the people of Israel of those times in history when God’s chosen were saved from what might have been perceived as certain doom. Though the images are vague, they stir up all kinds of stories where the Hebrew people escaped death and capture: running from Pharaoh and his armies, the flood that washed over the earth, the Babylonians and their attacks on and capture of Israelites, and their ultimate freedom. It’s not clear whether or not these are the images to which the author is alluding, but surely it would stir the minds of the readers and hearers.
Similarly, when we feel surrounded on all sides, we must look back on those times where God was surely with us, strengthening us, cheering us on, lifting us up when we’ve fallen.
And so in those times, both of safety and siege, let us pray.
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—let Israel now say—if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when our enemies attacked us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Our help comes from you, O God. Our trust is in you, because you have always been by our side. Help us to see when the way before us is shrouded in doubt. Give us courage when darkness overcomes us. Give us hope for tomorrow by reminding us of your presence in all our yesterdays. In the name of Christ who is our light and our hope we offer this and all our prayers. AMEN