Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of evil and cruel men.
Often we feel the grasp of evil reaching our souls long after we have escaped the hand of evil. The grasp reaches across time and space, through memories and emotions, and leaves the imprint of the hand of evil on our minds. The one who harmed us may not be in the room, perhaps not even on the earth, but we feel his grip closing in upon our souls and we, like David, pray for deliverance.
How long had David recalled the cruelty of Saul? How long had he felt the anger and jealousy of the former King permeating the environments of rooms where he sat, even of conversations with other people, long after Saul was dead? Wounds caused by the cruelty of others, emotional scars that lie deep within our souls, have the potential of tainting every relationship from that day forth. And we may respond in kind, or in defense toward an innocent person because of some casual and insignificant similarity – perhaps nothing more than some random physical appearance.
Three options are open to us, four if we include a positive reaction.
These first three are what the world would typically do. God’s solution to healing these scars is the path of praise: to meditate on His grace, to replace unpleasant memories that have tainted our perspectives and shaken our confidence with the beauty of His grace and the assurance of His love.
It is in this 71st psalm that we read also the words,
But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
you who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like you?
20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You and I are not defenseless against the onslaught of evil – and this is true even if the evil we face seeps into our present circumstances through the memory of long ago hurts and betrayals. Meditate on the goodness of God and then place the evil of men alongside God’s omnipotence. Avoid the temptation to spread the pain caused to you by hurting others. Avoid confusing the hour in which you live with the emotion of past events. The only true eternal presence is the love and holiness of God that permeates the universe for the person of faith. Evil is a temporary intruder into His creation. Let this thought guard your heart from worry and your words from causing pain to others.
Lord, we will sing of Your salvation all day and all night long – though its measurement is beyond us. Let this reality overpower the pain of past betrayals. Amen.