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Down but not out

Most mornings I wake up desperate for God.

There’s many types of desperation. We can be desperate for help – as in needing supernatural intervention in some area of life or task we are facing that we just don’t feel we have the strength, ability, capacity or connections to tackle. We can be desperate for forgiveness, deeply in touch with some sin we’ve committed. We can be desperate for direction, not knowing the next steps to take in life, or a relationship, or a career or a specific project. Sometimes we can simply be desperate for love. To know we’re loved.

There is, within us, a deep hunger, insatiable except by our Creator, Savior, Guide. The Bread of Life. The Word of Truth. The Spirit of Wisdom.

Sometimes the desperation is very deep. We feel and see and know the depths of death – both eternal and right now death, and we cry out. Psalm 55 is such a moment:


1 Listen to my prayer, O God,

    do not ignore my plea;

2 hear me and answer me.

My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

3 because of what my enemy is saying,

    because of the threats of the wicked;

for they bring down suffering on me

    and assail me in their anger.

4 My heart is in anguish within me;

    the terrors of death have fallen on me.

5 Fear and trembling have beset me;

    horror has overwhelmed me.

6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!

    I would fly away and be at rest.

7 I would flee far away

    and stay in the desert;

8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,

    far from the tempest and storm.”

9 Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,

    for I see violence and strife in the city.

10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;

    malice and abuse are within it.

11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;

    threats and lies never leave its streets.

12 If an enemy were insulting me,

    I could endure it;

if a foe were rising against me,

    I could hide.

13 But it is you, a man like myself,

    my companion, my close friend,

14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship

    at the house of God,

as we walked about

    among the worshipers.

15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;

    let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,

    for evil finds lodging among them.

16 As for me, I call to God,

    and the Lord saves me.

17 Evening, morning and noon

    I cry out in distress,

    and he hears my voice.

18 He rescues me unharmed

    from the battle waged against me,

    even though many oppose me.

19 God, who is enthroned from of old,

    who does not change—

he will hear them and humble them,

    because they have no fear of God.

20 My companion attacks his friends;

    he violates his covenant.

21 His talk is smooth as butter,

    yet war is in his heart;

his words are more soothing than oil,

    yet they are drawn swords.

22 Cast your cares on the Lord

    and he will sustain you;

he will never let

    the righteous be shaken.

23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked

    into the pit of decay;

the bloodthirsty and deceitful

    will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you.


But who is the enemy today? Few of us face the type of literal enemy described here. Yet there is, indeed, an enemy of our souls. He has changed his tactics but his objective remains the same – our death both now and forever. Today, the enemies prowl the internet sowing death in the form of despairing calls for suicide, vitriolic bullying and the temptation of pleasure which only brings sorrow and death. He sows the seeds of hatred and racism which grow like fertile weeds in the warm greenhouse of the darkness that is the internet. Yes, this is our enemy.

He offers “freedom” from pain through drugs and alcohol, which turn out to be an ultimate prison, leading to the death of relationships, stealing the light of life from the eyes of those enslaved, then bringing death to the soul, death ultimate.

And so we cry out, O God! We are desperate in these times as we see death on the prowl all around us, and know death intimately within our own flesh. Yet we declare, with the Psalmist:


As for me, I call to God,

    and the Lord saves me.

17 Evening, morning and noon

    I cry out in distress,

    and he hears my voice.

18 He rescues me unharmed

    from the battle waged against me,

    even though many oppose me.


We have met Jesus, God incarnate come to fight, and slay, the giants of death and despair. And He has won! Death is indeed defeated! O, we find our ultimate hope in this truth: all this prowling death is but a final, screeching, violent but ultimately helpless enemy, flailing about and trying to drag us down with him. No, he is defeated. Death is defeated. And so we declare:

There is life!

There is life!

There is a life that is truly life!

Thanks be to God, through Christ Jesus our Lord!


Grace and Peace,

Pastor Joel

Joel Searby

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