Help! I’m not in control
God, I call out to You and You rescue me in my darkest night and from my deepest pit.
Read PSALM 18:1–29
 For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.  The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.  The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.  In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.  The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.  Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.  He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.  He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him- the dark rain clouds of the sky.  Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.  The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.  He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.  He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.  He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.  The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.  For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I am not guilty of turning from my God.  All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.  I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.  The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.  To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,  to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.  You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.  You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow involved does God become in responding to prayer?
As you read the dramatic description of one person’s experience in this psalm, try to imagine the circumstances under which it is written. How do you feel? Crushed? Suffocated? Unstable? What do you see, or hear? Can you smell anything? What’s it all like? Allow yourself to experience the sensory overload of the psalm. Are you frightened (4–6)? Feel the fear. Are you disorientated, overwhelmed (7,8)? Is there anything about God’s presence which surprises or disconcerts you? Look at his actions throughout the psalm (especially vs. 6–19). Does he do anything unexpected? The psalmist makes a number of very positive assertions about the character of God. Take a long, calm breath after the chaos of sensation. Focus on the verse which begins the psalm and note down God’s characteristics (1,2); then turn to the end of our reading (25–29) and add to your notes. As you review your own life today, allow yourself to express your feelings in the same way that the psalmist does.
Talk to God about your own situation or life issues. Tell him how you feel. Don’t hold back. Trust him to respond.
God, in my distress and in the messiness of my emotions, fears and thoughts, I come to You with my heart laid bare.
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