The Impotence of a Parent

Psalm 55

Jody Neufeld

1-3 Hello? God? Can you hear me? Answer me! My mind is a jumble of confusing, evil voices!

Everyone is looking at me! They hate me!

4-5 My heart is broken. I just want to die. I am so frightened here alone in my room.

6-8 I SOOO want to run away, LORD!

I would go to a quiet place where I could rest.

I would get away from my life which is standing in a hurricane!

9-11 The world is such a mess. Abusers, pedophiles, murderers, racists, liars, and those full of pride prowl in the shadows that they love, destroying.

12-15 If it was my enemy that opposed me, I could endure that but it is my friend that was a part of God’s fellowship with me! If you continue on this path, apart from God, may you be surprised by the evil, the death that God’s judgment will impart.

16-19 I have no pride. I call out to God morning, noon, and night. He hears me and saves me no matter how overwhelming my distress may seem. God, the Creator, the Great I AM, will cover me, His child, from any and all evil that tries to destroy me. Those who do not fear Him – you should be afraid, very afraid.

20-21 My so-called friend has a silver-tongue that speaks sweetly but manifests from a heart that is dirty and vicious. He breaks his covenant relationship with God and with me.

22-23 Cast all your cares on God and He will hold you in the hardest of times, His righteous child. But those He judges wicked, will not live even half their days.

I trust you, LORD. (my paraphrase)

We parents do not like to consider that should our children be in danger we could not do something to prevent, divert, or destroy that danger. The reality is – there are circumstances that we cannot change.

For five years I prayed and stood by in support while my son, James, battled cancer. I watched his eyes as they looked in confusion and fear at a diagnosis and abrupt changes in his young life. Baseball and music was replaced by sickening treatments and repetitive tests. I was there for every skirmish and, yet, the battle was his.

I SOOO want to run away, LORD!

I would go to a quiet place where I could rest.

I would get away from my life which is standing in a hurricane! (vv. 6-8, my paraphrase)

Yes, I have had several days in my life when I was looking for the “EXIT” sign! I remember sitting on my bed(which was actually a pallet) the night after my children and I moved to our new home. The enormity of being on my own with three children and newly divorced was like a boulder sitting on my chest. Sitting in my son’s room as chemo agents dripped into his arm was another time. I’m sure James would have been with me in our “great escape”!

As parents we want, even need, to feel that we can protect our children from the worse that this world can bring into their paths. That is not true. I believe that my #1 job as a parent is to be used by Him to equip and empower my children to be the best that they can be in God’s Kingdom. That does not mean that they will not stumble. It does not mean that “bad” things won’t happen to them. I pray that it means that they know to Whom to turn to first.

The psalmist speaks about all the evil people (even friends!) that seem to be “getting away with” stuff and he feels it is time for God to intervene with His justice.

Then the psalm comes full circle as I know that when I cry out to God – He will hear me. No matter the time of day or night, God hears and responds. His response may be His presence, His wisdom, and wonderfully, His healing and comfort.

Verse 22 is more familiar to me in Peter’s first letter (5:7) and has been a reminder in times when I think I have to do it all myself. What a deception! Beside peace that is bigger than I can understand, giving God all my cares brings wisdom to my choices, and a better night’s sleep!

And living in this relationship with God comes down to trust. There is no shortcut to building my relationship with God. It takes time and commitment to placing God as the first priority of my life. It is conversation with God (prayer) throughout my day, study in His Word, and worship of Him – just because.

These are the building blocks that show me that when the storms come into my child’s life, we are never alone and we have our Father who is big enough to carry us through.

[ reprinted from A Living Psalter: Creative Reflections on the Book of Psalms. A book just released by First United Methodist Church, Pensacola, FL]




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