(A song for worship.)
A Prayer for Mercy
1Our Lord and our God,
I turn my eyes to you,
on your throne in heaven.
2Servants look to their master,
but we will look to you,
until you have mercy on us.
3Please have mercy, Lord!
We have been insulted
more than we can stand,
4and we can't take more abuse
from those proud,
These past months have been tough. Not just a little bit tough—but really tough. Trying to live up to others’ expectations of who I should be or what I should be doing. Tough enough for me to cry out to God for help at a deeper level than I have ever cried out before. “Enough already, God! Enough!”, I shout out. Not unlike the servants described in this psalm: a servant looking to his master or a maid searching for a sign from her mistress—waiting. Waiting. Any sign will do—something to tell us that God has noticed just how difficult life is at the moment.
We have endured contempt until we are broken, ridicule from those who are never wrong, kicked around like a football for sport. And our cry comes: “Mercy, God, mercy!” Then unexpectedly, the “I” of the psalmist changes to “we.” This is not just my story: it is our story. Reduced to a one-word prayer:“Help!” That sounds about right for difficult times and difficult places, doesn’t it?
And yet, this is not a psalm of despair; it is in a “pilgrim psalm”—a song from those on a journey toward Jerusalem to worship God. The pilgrims cry out for mercy and at the same time declare their hope in God who seems strangely distant and inactive in responding to their every day lives. Waiting for a word, any small sign that God is near.
It is pilgrim-confidence in the face of such contempt and abuse. Pilgrims who chose to live life fully here on earth. Fully in hope, fully with bruises of contempt. Even when kicked in the teeth by those arrogant in their comfort, pilgrims look to God while waiting for relief and for God-action.
Father, some days seem unbearable—simply too much. Help us to keep putting one foot in front of the other—and with your propelling power move us forward. Keep our eyes on you, waiting, exhausted, until we know you in the center of our struggle. In the name of Jesus who suffered as we suffer. Amen.