16 Who will stand up for me against the wicked?
Who will help me against evildoers?
17 If the Lord hadn’t helped me,
I would live instantly in total silence.
18 Whenever I feel my foot slipping,
your faithful love steadies me, Lord.
19 When my anxieties multiply,
your comforting calms me down.
It seems like evil is on display on every ‘breaking news’ banner. Fear sells news and leaders use it to divide and rule. War, nuclear armament, racism, civil war, it seems as if there’s no good news. It’s no wonder we’re anxious. It feels like everything is broken and not worth fixing. We feel depressed, we despair and worse we withdraw and do nothing. Who will help us? God will help us.
These verses were written for a community that was under attack both from with out and within itself. The people had fallen away from their covenant with God and were doing evil. While these verses express feelings of deep despair calling out to God for help, they also acknowledge the great hope we have in God’s steadfast love. God is with us in our suffering to bring comfort and guidance.
While God’s final justice against evil has not yet come to pass, the psalmist knows that feelings of revenge will leave us unfulfilled and bitter. Revenge is not ours, rather as children of God we work for the elimination of systems of evil. When we encounter evil we may not always know what to do or how best to handle it. So we rely on God’s guidance. As United Methodists we vow to “renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world,” and “to accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
The psalmist is so affected by the evil in the world that he despairs. But God’s mercy keeps us from slipping and falling. God will keep us from despairing. God’s faithful love steadies us, guides us, keeps our feet on the path so we can walk in faith as God’s loving servants.
God brings us comfort to calm our ever-multiplying anxieties, which can paralyze us in the face of evil. While it is normal to experience anxiety about the difficulties in life, we serve the risen savior, Jesus, who has overcome sin and death. Corrie Ten Boom, a survivor of Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, said:“ Worries carry responsibilities that belong to God, not you. Worry does not enable us to escape evil; it makes us unfit to cope with it when it comes.” By sharing our anxieties with God, God will comfort us and calm us down so we can better do the work of the Kin-dom.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
While we may be fearful and anxious about the evil we see happening in the world, God has surrounded us with God’s steadfast love. God keeps our foot from slipping, God’s faithful love steadies us for the work we can do, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
How can you face evil in your life? There are many ways to work for justice through your local church. Are you bringing your ever “multiplying anxieties” to God? Spend some time to sit in God’s presence and experience God’s steadfast love.
Prayer: Loving God, when we confront evil, strengthen us. Steady us, Lord for the work we need to do. Help us, for we depend on your steadfast love to comfort us and to calm our multiplying anxieties. Amen.