Psalm 116:1-9 (NRSV)
Verse 1I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Verse 2Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
Verse 3The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
Verse 4Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I pray, save my life!"
Verse 5Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
Verse 6The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
Verse 7Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
Verse 8For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
Verse 9I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
Yesterday we heard Isaiah claim he had heard and was ready to speak a word from God. Today the psalmist reverses the direction of communication with God—now the human voice speaks to God and God has listened. What God heard was a desperate cry of suffering from someone just about dead: “Save my life!” It seems the only reason we know that God heard is that this one is now walking among the living. And the one who cried out in pain bursts into a new round of speech, crying out anew: “God is gracious! God is merciful! God is righteous!” It is booming, joyous speech—grateful for experience, deep in the bones, celebrating who God is and what God does. God hears and loves and saves—so that we need not stumble blindly but may walk with God.
Saving God, give us courage to cry out, both in our pain and in our joy, so that we may always walk with you. Amen.