Hurry Up, Lord
O God, come quickly to save me;O Lord, come quickly to help me! Let those be ashamed and humiliatedWho seek my life;Let them be turned back and humiliatedWho delight in my hurt. Let them be turned back because of their shame and disgraceWho say, “Aha, aha!” May all those who seek You [as life’s first priority] rejoice and be glad in You;May those who love Your salvation say continually,“Let God be magnified!” But I am afflicted and needy;Come quickly to me, O God!You are my help and my rescuer;O Lord, do not delay.
The late Peter Marshall once opened a session of the United States Senate with this prayer: “Our Father, when we long for life without trials and work, without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow stronger In contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. With stout hearts may we see in every calamity an opportunity and not give way to the pessimist that sees in every opportunity a calamity.”
Yes, oaks and diamonds-as well as God’s purposes for your life-take time to form. David, however, in this psalm cries out for an immediate extraction from his difficulty. Like him, are you so hard pressed you beg the Lord, “Please do something right now?” You’re not interested in becoming a mighty oak or a beautiful diamond- just surviving would be fine for the present.
Both Psalms 69 and 70 plea for help from God, but Psalm 69 is far more intense: waters up to the neck, sinking in miry depths, and a voice worn out from calling for help.
Both psalms, however, show us the important thing is to keep calling out. In his own deep need and hour of danger, David kept coming to God. Likewise, you must not give up in your trial. Even if a successful outcome seems impossible, you must continue your quest for God’s intervention. It is unmistakable evidence of your desire to go on living. Dead fish don’t struggle. Calling out to the Lord means you want help, that you consider life worthwhile, and that you also recognize you have no power to save yourself.
If you’ve not experienced it yet, you will, when it seems that God seems slow in responding to your cry. Maybe it’s only now that you have come to realize this. Perhaps you have heard others talk about God’s “delays, but you have never felt them personally. Not in this moment, you have discovered that sometimes God is very slow. Why else would we, like David, cry out, “Hasten, O God, to save me, O Lord, come quickly to help me.”(verse 1)
We might wonder why is God’s pace so lackadaisical and whether it is because victories gained after hard fought battles are more enjoyable. Could it be that we learn the lesson better? Is it possible that the external wait is necessary in order for our internal lives to be remolded? Could it be that God’s plans for you are interwoven with His plans for others lives and you are forced to wait for them in order for His more perfect blending of the intersection of His plans for the both of you?
In the moments of “delay,” you might ask the questions but find no answers. Most of us, during the trial, usually do not know what is causing the delay by God in extricating us.
But we should try to avoid erroneous thinking regarding God’s seeming lackadaisical pace. We shouldn’t conclude that it’s because He’s powerless nor uncaring. He is neither sleeping, unconcerned, nor indifferent. We must trust that if He delays, it isn’t because He doesn’t love us or somehow lacks the power to rescue us.
Here is where we engage faith. Faith is when we trust Him in the storms and believe that He is too wise to be mistaken and too loving to be unkind.
In a crisis, our focus shifts back and forth from God to ourselves and our problems. In Psalm 70, verses 2 and 3, David focuses on those who are pressing against him. He lists in descending order of danger the three strategies of his foes:
First, they seek his life. Second, they desire his ruin. Third, they ridicule and poke fun at him with their haughty, “Aha! Aha!”
David’s request to the Lord is that he will receive justice and that those who have risen against him will be put to shame and confusion, turned back into disgrace. We might note that these requests are mild in comparison to some of the other psalms.
When our problems have stemmed from someone else’s actions even if we are partly responsible, it seems to help for us to envision the tables being turned on our “enemies.” This is a necessary function of anger-the pushing the “foe” away from us. It’s alright for us to pray this as long as we don’t try to take matters into our own hands and we arrive at the place of forgiveness.
In Psalm 70, David reminds us of something we often forget. We are to note not just a list of those who have harmed or hurt us, but also to generate a list of those who help us. Let’s not let our anger or pain separate us from the people who love and care for us. We ought to pray for them also.
Psalm 70 closes with verse 5 by returning to the opening theme for God to “speed up.” Even though we know that God often acts much slower than we might want, He still gives us the freedom to keep saying to Him, “Could You hurry up, please.”
And just as it does with us sometimes when we finish praying, Psalm 70 ends with no resolution to the crisis. Often we are in the same external situation at the end of our prayer as we are in the beginning. We will say our amen while still waiting on God to respond, but we find that it has helped to tell Him about our need and desire. More important than just feeling relief that we have “got it off our chests,” is the fact that He hears us,
Any lingering delay results not because He’s disinterested or that He’s deaf, but from His knowledge that even as strong winds produce strength in mighty oaks and intense pressure produces diamonds from coal, adversity also produces saints.
Today in your struggles, turn to God, cry out to Him, trust that He hears, and even though you may not be delivered when you wish, He walks in the fiery furnaces of life with us and shares our pain and sorrow.
Dr. John Thompson