Our Reason For Hope

This psalm is a lament and a prayer for deliverance from those who wish harm on the innocent. It is also a profound statement of faith, a hard won faith, a faith that can remain true even in the midst of suffering. How often have we found ourselves praying just as the psalmist prays here. The threat of danger from those who defy God has always been present in the world and it is no different today.

The psalmist recognizes that the wicked are fools, that they lack the wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord. He says of God: “Does the one who shaped the ear not hear? The one who formed the eye not see? (verse 9) But the reverse is true for the one who trusts and believes in the Lord. The believer knows that God sees and hears everything that is done. The believer also knows that God’s judgment favors the righteous and destroys the wicked, therefore, he or she desires with all of his or her heart, soul, mind, and strength to live in ways that are pleasing to the Lord.

We, like the psalmist, lament the effects of wicked acts upon the innocent today. Our news, both locally and worldwide, is full of such deeds done without fear of the Lord’s judgment. It sometimes feels that the bad news is endless. But as Christian believers, convicted with an abiding faith in God’s love and mercy, though we lament these things, we do not despair. Just like the psalmist, though we lament the immediate presence and threat of the wicked, we know that we are blessed by the grace of God, that we have reason for our hope in the midst of the suffering. As the psalmist says: “Blessed the one whom you guide, Lord, whom you teach by your instruction.” (verse 12) Our hope is in the infinite goodness of God. It is our deepest desire, then, to imitate that goodness in the world, to be a shining light in the darkness.

Indeed, we know that God’s love and mercy are greater than all of the evil in the world. With the psalmist we say: “When cares increase within me, your comfort gives me joy.” (verse 19) Yes, joy! Joy is the reward that God offers to all who remain faithful. The wicked have no power over us, if we remain faithful to God. For as the psalmist tells us, “The Lord is my secure height, my God, my rock of refuge…” (verse 22) Yes, God is the source of our joy. It is he who gives us all that we need. With him we will not be overwhelmed by the deeds of the wicked. It is he who will be at our side protecting us, guiding us, giving us the graces we need to endure and to overcome all that comes our way in this life. Trust in the Lord, then, for he, “will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.”

Lord, when we are threatened, or overwhelmed by the wicked deeds of those who have turned their hearts to stone, give us the grace to seek your face alone. Give us the strength and the courage to counter evil with goodness. Help us to be examples of your love, and your mercy in this world that is so often burdened by the effects of evil. We pray in the power of your name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.