Feeling Fed Up
Lord, I am dazzled by Your power, encircled by Your mercy. You are the Lord and master of heaven and earth.
Read PSALM 123:1-4
 A song of ascents.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
When did you last feel fed up, trapped and frustrated? How did you cope? Maybe it’s how you feel today! If so, feel those feelings as you meditate on this psalm.
Psalm 123 is the fourth in a series of 15 “Psalms of Ascent,” all designed for use by pilgrims “ascending” to Jerusalem for the pilgrim festivals. They are a remarkable series, all dealing with different aspects of the experience of traveling, and thus full of wonderful stuff for us as we reflect on our life journeys.
They fall into five groups of three, and within each group the first touches on aspects of distance (the start), the second on the challenges of traveling, and the third on arrival, fulfillment and closeness. Psalm 123 is the first in the second group. It’s about the feelings of the pilgrims away from where they want to be, stuck in an alien place that is not home, feeling misunderstood and scorned—and totally fed up with this. “I’ve had enough!” is the message of v. 3b. “Our soul has had more than its fill” (4, NRSV) is longhand for “we’re fed up!”
It’s alright to feel fed up. The point is, what do we do with the feelings? Do we express them pungently to each other and to God, as here, or do we bury them in shame, because Christians aren’t supposed to be fed up? This psalm gives us permission to be completely open. And when we’re fed up, this psalm also encourages us: first, to realize that God sees and is not trapped like us—he is “enthroned in heaven” (1); second, to trust that he has a plan and a will for us, which he will reveal in his time (2); third, to know that his heart toward us is mercy, not indifference (3); and fourth, to expect that our present situation is not the end of the story, but the beginning of a new stage on the journey for us. There’s hope!
How does this apply to you? Let these four points sink into your heart and mind and minister to you as you turn them into prayer.
Lord, if I am ever fed up help me to turn it around so that I am filled up with a full measure of Your love, mercy, forgiveness and grace.
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