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Tuesday, March 30

Contributed by Roberto De Sandoli

Psalm 71: 1-14

“O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!”

Whenever I read the words of Psalm 71, I imagine the author to be someone
in the midst of terror and helplessness. Phrases like: “In you, O Lord, I take
refuge,” “Rescue me, O God, from the hand of the wicked,” and “O God, do
not be far from me” paint a picture of one like a small, frightened child burying
their face in their mother’s apron, hiding from the fearful things around them.
While this image, of the child hiding in refuge, tends to have negative
connotations in our society (which sees little capital or utility in fear and
hiding), the experience of being afraid is nevertheless universal.
The normal routines and events of life give us ample opportunity to be afraid:
economic uncertainty, rumors of war, violence in the news, the illness of a
loved one, the end of a relationship, each of these things prompts a
reasonable reaction of fear: “what if things get worse?” “What if my deepest
fears come true?” “What will I do?”
The author of Psalm 71 knows what they will do. They will turn to the Lord for
their protection and help. In describing their fear and their refuge, this author
gives us a countercultural map to follow.
There is no shame in turning to God in fear (v. 1), God is trustworthy, he
always has been (v. 5), God will not let us be put to shame, but will shame
and scorn the victimizers instead (v. 13). Though the world may scorn the
fearful, God will come close and be their refuge.

God our refuge, come close to us, make haste to help us, that when fear
strikes, we would not hesitate to seek you. Amen.

Rev. Roberto DeSandoli is minster at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Saskatoon. He
loves preaching, pastoral care, and equipping the saints to do Christ’s mission in the world. He
lives with his wife Heather and their cat Zoe.