“In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.”
When I first started seminary, I was not entirely sure I was doing the right thing. I kept searching for confirmation that the call I felt I had from God was a true one. It was often my prayer that I would not be put to shame.
“In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.”
What I realized, years after the fact, is that a call from God is simply that – God calling you forward. It does not mean that any great burden is placed on you. I kept thinking I had to become some different than who I already was, or that there was something in me lacking that needed to be learned or acquired.
“Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.”
It was not that I needed to learn or grow into a different role. It simply meant that God desired me to learn more about faith, spirituality, the Divine, and myself. What I learned in seminary was to be a better me – more fully the me that God had always intended me to be. And along the way I learned how to help other people develop into the person that God intended them to be. In a sense, to develop the aware that God is a “rock of refuge” and a “strong fortress” for eveyone.
“Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”
Salvation is a gift that is given to all humanity – each individual in humanity. We just have to search the Divine long enough to find the gift of salvation that has our name on it. It is there, isn’t just that not everyone searches for it. And we “misplace” or abuse it. And so we have to reaffirm and reclaim the gift. As for being delivered from the “hand of the wicked . . . the grasp of the unjust and cruel” . . . well, that does not always happen the way we think it will. But what is a sure thing is that the Lord is our “hope” and “trust” in a world that seems lacking or devoid of it.
“Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.” (Psalm 71:1-6)
This has been a pretty personal reflection on this psalm. I had thought I would right a prayer in response to it. But maybe it is better, beloved reader, for you to say your own prayer in response to it, speaking to the Lord God the things that come forth from you heart in response to the psalmist words. For I know the Lord God will hear you. Selah!