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Battle-tested

Psalm 55 could have been written yesterday. 

It’s a passionate cry for help amid community and personal conflict. Here faith is at its most basic expression: “God, listen to my prayer.” 

Faith starts with the conviction and hope that God is real, good, caring, near, and capable.

The writer feels threatened: “For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger” (v. 3 CSB). With the storms of conflict and increasing chaos mounting, he wants to “fly away and find rest” (v. 6). 

Does that prayer resonate with you these days?

Adding to the pain of this moment, the poet tells us that his situation is made worse because it has become deeply personal. He’s not only being attacked by nameless people and forces in the culture. He’s also been betrayed by a close friend, someone he shared time and meals with, someone who worshipped alongside him. 

“The worst, meanest things”

A few months ago, I was in a pastor’s conference. We were discussing the struggles in our churches after a year of endless Covid pivots. 

One pastor shared, “After decades of ministry, this past year I’ve had the worst, meanest things said to me and about me as I tried to lead my church.” 

Another pastor chimed in, “I’ve had the harshest things said to me by my closest friends and leaders.” 

It’s been sadly astounding how a global pandemic and social unrest has divided churches and ministry teams. The psalmist experienced something similar.

His hope and prayer can be ours. Toward the end he counsels us, “Cast your burden on the Lᴏʀᴅ, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (v. 22).

May the Spirit’s Presence bring you peace

The Apostle Peter knew something about attacks and chaos. He saw Jesus handle many conflicts across three years. He had a front-row seat for the mob and the arrest in Gethsemane. Tradition says that Peter finished his faith and ministry as a martyr for Christ, being crucified upside down in Rome. 

He must have learned and loved this song of desperation. He wrote something similar centuries later: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).

This Thanksgiving Eve, you might be feeling battle-tested and battle-weary. I hope and pray you sense the presence and encouragement of Christ through his present Spirit. 

Despite whatever pains or attacks you might have right now or that you’re recovering from, I hope the Spirit’s presence is bringing you peace, relieving your suffering, and filling you with joy and peace.

Here’s my prayer for us: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV). 

Happy Thanksgiving.

NOTE: This is our last A Pastor’s View Daily Dose for the week. God bless you, your family, and your ministry.