Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 30 is an envelope Psalm that begins and ends with praise. It starts,
I will exalt you, Lord (v. 1)
and it concludes
O Lord my God, I will praise you forever (v. 12).
Inside this envelope of praise, the poet tells how he moved from despair to thanksgiving. The story begins with his intense need. He was in a life-threatening situation and felt dragged into a dark pit. He was stuck in desperation and despair.
Then God rescued him. When he felt most abandoned, God showed up and pulled him out of the pit. The poet says God was angry, but that “his anger lasts only a moment; then he gives favor forever” (v. 5). The poet wept for one brutal night, but in the morning God gave the gift of joy (v. 5). The poet was shuffling hopelessly through life, but God set his feet dancing (v. 11).
That’s Psalm 30, the poet’s thank you card to God, tucked nicely in an envelope of praise.
Let’s pray our own envelope prayer, like the poet did.
Lord, we give you thanks, we give you praise. Though parts of the world are darkened by industrial pollution and wildfire smoke, yet the sun still shines and crops still grow. Though right wing politicians mock truth and left wing politicians propose utopian fantasies, your law still governs our hearts and minds. Though the church strays into errors of liberalism and fundamentalism, still your word is preached and prayers are offered. Though our lives are narrow and selfish, you have made your home in us. We give you thanks.
You answered our deepest prayers. The woman whose son has been decades in prison is at last able to visit him. The man who fell again into pornography confessed and started over. The boy dying of leukemia responded to treatment: his prospects are hopeful. The victim of unthinkable abuse has begun to find healing and forgiveness. The minister who scolded his people every week with the bad news of sin has at last found the good news of grace. We who resented the church and your laws and your people now feel your Spirit softening our hard hearts with a new way of love.
We say, “Thank you, good Lord.” Thank you for intervening in our sickness. Thank you for showing us our sin and pointing us to a new life. Thank you for not abandoning us to the deadly consequences of our ways. Thank you for finding us drifting on the ocean and giving us a compass and setting our sail for home.
Where we were abused, you taught us forgiveness. Where we were lonely, you became our companion. Where we were isolated you called us into community. Where we made bad decisions, you gave us grace to start over. When our carelessness broke relationships, you taught us how to rebuild. When all our roads led to despair, you built a bridge of hope.
Thank you for not leaving us in the pit we dug. Thank you for shining light into our darkness. Thank you for rescuing us from our enemies. Thank you for being our help, our stronghold and our salvation.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.