Do you ever find yourself desperately praying for help? Do you ever feel like you need God to be on your side or you simply won’t survive? David served as the king of Israel, God’s chosen leader. He wrote Psalm 124 expressing how faithful God is in times of great challenge. It’s important to name God’s faithfulness to us in seasons of difficulty.

Our enemies are not always soldiers at war. We have silent enemies too. Fear, addiction, and isolation are enemies that war within us while we cry out for release. Although grief is a normal and healthy response to loss, it can also be overwhelming as waves of it overshadow our days. And even in the face of these situations, God is present and working with us. God is walking through the valleys and dangers and fear with us. God never gives us up to the enemies that seek to destroy. In our baptismal vows we say that we “accept the freedom and power God gives [us] to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (UMH, no. 34). That vow reminds us that God is ever present. And in the depths of our battles, the Lord will not let us go. In Christ, we have power to resist.

The song “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle expresses the depths and heights to which God will go to bring us out of destructive circumstances or to find us when we have walked down paths that do not lead us home. My favorite line in the song is:

I will send out an army to find you

in the middle of the darkest night.

God never abandons us, never stops searching for us. That is why we can say with confidence, “Our help is in the name of the LORD who made heaven and earth.”

Whenever you are feeling engulfed or overwhelmed by a difficult circumstance, try praying through Psalm 124 and naming the specific situations and difficulties when God has been at your side, guiding you through overwhelming challenges.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-50

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Lectionary Week
September 20–26, 2021
Scripture Overview

The Jewish people have faced possible destruction numerous times. The story begins not with the Holocaust in Europe but far back in history during the time of Esther. The wicked Haman plots to wipe out God’s people, but God saves the people through Esther’s courage. The psalmist praises God for this kind of salvation from seemingly impossible circumstances. Although we may not face genocide, we have our own struggles. James encourages us to pray with faith, believing that God can and will answer. Our prayers are powerful, James assures us. Jesus teaches us the importance of letting nothing stand between God and us. Using vivid hyperbole, he admonishes us to put the pursuit of God above everything else and to support others in that same pursuit.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22. When have you chosen to speak out in a way that made you vulnerable in order to help someone else?
Read Psalm 124. Recall a time when you had a strong sense of God’s being on your side. What was the situation? How did that assurance come?
Read James 5:13-20. How do the members of your faith community pray with and for one another?
Read Mark 9:38-50. Whoever is not against you is for you. How can you share God’s love with those outside your inner circle?

Respond by posting a prayer.