From heaven stretch Your hand;
Reaching down to rescue me,
save me from the floods,
The grip of foreign pow’rs,
The ones whose mouth speaks what is false,
The ones whose right hand is the same,
a right hand of deceitfulness.
(from “Blessed Be the Lord, My Rock” by J.C. Friedrich Schneider – Psalm 144A in The Book of Psalms for Worship)
I have a dear friend I’ve known for over 20 years who is in a desperate situation. In addition to battling addiction, she is facing legal charges that could result in significant sentencing to jail and/or prison.
In the midst of her struggle, she is feeling terribly conflicted. She doesn’t know who to trust. Voices within and around her are telling her to follow one direction, then another. Her desires and her needs don’t mesh. Friends and family wrestle with one another in an effort to extend help.
The message of Psalm 144 (especially verses 7-8) is that there is certainly help to be found. The Psalmist calls on the God of heaven who can (and will) stretch out His hand to rescue those who are overwhelmed by floods of despair, detainment, and desperation. Those who are caught in the grip of addiction and other self-destructive “powers and principalities” have a Helper in heaven they can count on.
But this Helper is not the only one reaching out. There are plenty of others – within us, among us, and around us who do not speak the truth that is best for us. Ideas that “feel right”, friends and family that “mean well”, can actually deceive us into thinking there are other ways to be rescued than the one and only Way – the path that leads to life with God (and others) in Jesus Christ.
I urge all of you to be intensely praying for my friend , especially tomorrow (April 22) as she transitions into treatment.
I have great hope in the LORD, as expressed in another Psalm –
God is our refuge and our strength,
In trials, a proven aid.
And therefore, though the earth should change,
We will not be afraid
Though hills may slide into the sea,
And waves crash down and roar,
And though the ocean’s rage may shake
The mountains on the shore
A river makes God’s city glad,
The Most High’s holy place.
God is in her; she won’t be moved;
God helps at the break of day.
(from “God is Our Refuge and Our Strength” by John Robb; Psalm 44B in The Book of Psalms for Worship)
image above “heaven” from Karen Rosenberg in Favorite Places & Spaces