Scripture: Psalm 4
Key verse: (1) Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
Reflection: Anyone claustrophobic? I am more of an acrophobic myself, but who isn’t sympathetic to the fear of small spaces. Who wants to be crowded in, overcome and overstuffed like you are flying transatlantic, in economy, in a full plane, middle seat, that sat on the tarmac for three hours with no A/C … I digress.
When we are stressed, however, we do tend to talk about it in ways that speak of restriction. We feel tight when anxious. We imagine we are suffocating when overwhelmed. Too close for comfort, we might say, or, get off my back. We use the word ‘over’ as a prefix to imply too much, more than usual, something we need to get out from under. The word anguish, not used much anymore, comes from the two Latin words for narrow and tight. Ok. Enough already. I am starting to feel claustrophobic now.
The psalmist in the fourth beloved psalm is sounding a little pressed by the vagaries and vicissitudes of life. There are relentless refrains of complaint and challenge above, around, and no doubt within him. He cries out to God for help. God’s response? Go to your room! Not a time out but time away with room to breathe and space to move. God gives the psalmist room, space, time, and release when it is needed most.
“You gave me room when I was in distress”, stands out as such a welcome and loving response to our prayers. I know it might be hard to find that kind of safety and spaciousness today, but what if that is exactly what you need? And what if God, whose thoughts are not our thoughts and whose sense of time and place greatly challenge ours, is walking beside you today and every once in a while opening a door and inviting you in to a room, a space, a time all your own? What if there was a refuge today that God has prepared for you? I pray you find what God has given you for the living of this day.
Prayer: Help me discover today, Lord, what you have prepared and provided for me. And, in discovering, grant me grace to accept your gifts. In Jesus name. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].