"My Lord and My God, I have hoped in Thee:
O Jesu, sweet Saviour, now liberate me!
I have languished for Thee in afflictions and chains,
Through long years of anguish and bodily pains.
Adoring, imploring, on humbly bowed knee,
I crave of thy mercy to liberate me."
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, 1587
TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN BY AGNES STRICKLAND
O Lord my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me,
Lest they tear me like a lion,
Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver...
I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
Mary wrote in Latin, as most educated persons in her day would have done. Instead of ‘liberate’, we might expect to see ‘set free’, or ‘delivered from’; or ‘save me’ instead. Even with such a translation, we can hear the deep cry of Mary’s heart, seeking release from all her troubles.
Thinking of Queen Mary’s distress and her seeking the Lord to free her from her plight took me to Psalm 7, where David pleads with God to deliver him from persecution. Amidst all their troubles their only recourse was to cry out to The Lord, ‘Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake!’
This morning on BBC Radio 4’s ‘A Point of View’ programme, Rebecca Stott talked of her Russian friend Veronika, who is a gifted gardener, and their friendship, but with particular emphasis on how Veronika views her country in the light of events in Ukraine. The programme shows how this Russian lady has gone from a position of belief that Putin would not invade Ukraine, to being ‘depressed’ at her pride in her homeland being so cruelly shattered. She now says ‘there are no words’. It sums up the feelings of so many of us. The world has profoundly changed, and each new day brings further revelations of horror.
It is often said that we must come to the end of ourselves before The Lord will move. Certainly, it is when we are in extremis, when we can see no other way, that we find that God brings comfort and release. Being ‘at the end of ourselves’ really means that we have come to the place of complete surrender to God, so that pain, loss and all the awfulness this world can throw at us is replaced by ‘the light of His countenance’, by ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, [which] will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ [Philippians 4:7]
‘Meditate on these things…’
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
"Living Hope" - Phil Wickham
A HOLY CONDITION: Oswald Chambers on JOY
GEORGE and GILL STEWART