September 27, 2012

A Strong Tower

Psalm 88

May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death.
—Psalm 88:2-3


In Tokyo there’s a new free-standing broadcasting tower 634 meters high (2,080 feet) and strong enough to withstand the earthquakes that often rock Japan. It uses engineering advances that allow it to sway with the most violent shocks and absorb them without snapping. It’s called the Sky Tree.

Psalm 88 describes the loneliness, terrors, and despair that the writer experienced from youth to old age. It’s one of the darkest passages of Scripture. It ends with the grim words, “darkness is my closest friend.” It calls to mind the Simon & Garfunkel song “The Sounds of Silence,” which begins, “Hello, darkness, my old friend.”

Yet there is something deeply comforting about a passage like this, for throughout the psalmist’s life, often in the midst of terrible suffering, he cried out day and night to the Lord, calling him “the God who saves me.” Today we know that Jesus came to save us. He too suffered, going to the darkest depths. He knows what we go through because he went through it—and so much more—for our sake!

Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” When you meet with terrible troubles in life, run to the Lord, the strong tower. You may reel from the shock, but you will not snap.

Thank you, Lord, for being a strong tower of refuge for all who trust in you! Thank you for being there when the en-emy of our souls attacks. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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