Tag Archives: Urgency

“HELP!”

"Help!" (CaD Ps 70) Wayfarer

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    Lord, do not delay.

Psalm 70:5 (NIV)

There is an urgency that comes with being at the end of one’s rope. I was recording a Wayfarer Weekend podcast with a guest earlier this week (you’ll find out who in a few weeks), and she described hitting an “end of my rope” moment in life. Her journal entries from that time, she said, were a simple, repeated refrain of “Help me!”

Today’s chapter, Psalm 70, stands out for its brevity. In fact, it’s basically a repeat of verses 13-17 of Psalm 40. It’s as if David’s circumstances are so pressing, his present pain is so acute, that he can’t find the spiritual, mental, or creative resources to come up with anything lengthy or original. He’s having an “end of my rope” moment and simply blurts out a repeat of a refrain he made before:

“God?! Quick! Help me!”

Along my journey, I’ve occasionally been asked by others how to pray. It’s kind of like asking, “How do I have a conversation?” There’s no real magic to it. It’s just having a conversation with God which, as with any relationship, can be very different one moment then it is the next. Circumstance usually dictates the content, tone, length, pace, and intensity of the conversation.

There a certain waypoints on the road of life when all I can muster is a cry for help.

It’s okay. God hears those, too.

Three, Two, One

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 70

But I’ve lost it. I’m wasted. God—quickly, quickly! Quick to my side, quick to my rescue! God, don’t lose a minute. Psalm 70:5 (MSG)

Can you think of how many movies and television shows you’ve watched that include a countdown timer on a bomb or other device? The device was first used in film by German filmmaker Fritz Lang in the 1929 Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon) and filmmakers quickly understood that the inclusion of a countdown heightened the tension for audiences who watch the numbers slowly ticking down towards an uncertain climax. Even this week Wendy and I were watching the television series Homeland. As the tension built we were huddled together on the couch squeezing each other’s hand.

Psalm 70 is similar to a number of songs that David wrote. The unique thing about David’s lyric in today’s psalm is the sense of urgency that David expresses. He’s not casually asking for help. You can feel the countdown timer ticking down. He’s crying out in desperation.

There are times in life that our prayers take on a sense of urgency. It is said that “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Psalm 70 is an ancient reminder that desperate times also call for desperate prayer. It once again reminds me of why I love the psalms. Across the 150 song volume, the breadth of human experience is expressed reminding us that we can take our momentary circumstances and emotions to God no matter what they might be. If life seems to be ticking down to some impending doom, we can cry out to God and squeeze His almighty hand.