By Brother Doug Ruffle
Author’s note: I was asked by staff of The Upper Room to record a short video in Spanish for their weekly broadcast, which is produced in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The following is an English language rendering of the video script.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by” (Psalm 57:1, NRSV).
The preface to Psalm 57 says that this is a psalm of David when he sought protection from God when he fled from Saul. Many times, in my life I have prayed to God in times of danger or in times of great sadness or when there was danger to my church due to some crisis or when there was danger to my nation during political tensions. It is in these moments that I go to God in prayer seeking protection and refuge just like the psalmist. Now is a good time to turn to God for protection, refuge, and to ground our lives in strength of our Creator God.
In these days of wars in the Middle East and between Ukraine and Russia; amid protests in Ecuador, uncertainty in Argentina, and difficulties in many nations around the world, we seek refuge in God. It is important to emphasize that the psalmist begins his psalm with humility. “Be merciful to me, O God . . .” And the psalmist affirms that our God is “above the heavens . . . Let your glory be over all the earth.” That is to say, the psalmist shows us the humility necessary to approach God with a request for protection and refuge during human difficulties.
Mr. David Anglen, from Texas, wrote a meditation for The Upper Room that was published in languages from around the world. Mr. Anglen is aware of this approach in humility. He tells of the fear and fright he had when a cow was about to give birth to a calf in his fields. He had been away from his farm when a neighbor called him and warned him that the cow was giving birth in the middle of darkness and where there were predators around. But there were also some of the farmer’s llamas and the sheepdog who protected the cow with the cow. When the farmer arrived at the scene, he noticed the llamas and sheepdog had surrounded the cow in a circle of protection.
The birth went well. Just as the llamas and the shepherd dog cared for the cow and her calf, God is with us to provide protection in times of personal danger and during times of anxiety when the future seems dark. The psalmist’s invitation is the same today as when he wrote Psalm 57: We must have a heart willing to sing hymns of praise to God because we believe in a God who helps us in everything. It is an invitation to always turn to God and find protection and refuge in God. And an invitation to each of us to provide support to others when they are going through difficult times. Now is the time to turn to God. Now.