Mighty God, my light and my salvation, you are my King. Bless the Lord, O my soul…..bless his holy name.
Read PSALM 142
A maskil[b] of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.
1 I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.’1
In this psalm, David hides from his pursuers in a cave. Twice in Scripture we find David seeking refuge from King Saul in a cave – at Adullam2 and En Gedi.3 On neither occasion was he without companions, for some of his men were present, but his sense of isolation imprisons him in a dungeon of loneliness and despair. Whether or not he is truly on his own, David feels so alone that he plunges into deep depression.
To David, it seems that nobody cares about him (v 4), yet he remembers that God has not abandoned him and will answer his cry for deliverance (vs 5–7). A glimmer of hope penetrates his despondent heart like a glimmer of light shining in through the entrance to his dark cave. He knows he will be free at last and able to share his experience of God’s goodness with his fellow believers (v 7).
Unlike many parts of the developing world, where family and community ties often remain very strong, the Western world has become fractured and fragmented. Loneliness caused by the absence of social contact has serious emotional consequences for its victims, particularly the elderly. In Japan, so many old people die alone and remain undiscovered for a long time that a special term has been used there since the 1980s – kodokushi. Like David, Christians know they are never alone in this world, even though at times our perception can be somewhat different. Some of our struggles, like Abraham’s with regard to the sacrifice of Isaac,4 we must face with only God’s help, but God forbid that anything like kodokushi should ever be found in the churches, communities, and neighborhoods we belong to as believers!
Recent studies show that loneliness is a major health threat. Can you think of ways to cultivate relationships that could help alleviate your own or someone else’s sense of isolation?
Ever-present Lord, at times I cry out to you in desperation, as the psalmist does. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer for deliverance.
1 Mother Theresa 2 1 Sam 22:1 3 1 Sam 24:1–3 4 Gen 22:1–19
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