May 12, 2017 • Life for Leaders
But I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.
Psalm 69 is David’s passionate cry for divine help. He has been sinking into the mire of trouble. Some is the result of his own sin (69:5), while much of David’s difficulty stems from the evil of his opponents (69:4). Even though people laugh at him for his consistent yearning for God (69:10-12), David persists in praying to the Lord, hoping that this is a time of God’s “favor” (69:13).
The Hebrew expression behind this line is a peculiarly brief one. It reads, literally, “a time of favor or acceptance” (‘et ratzon). David yearns for such a time, when God will finally answer his prayers. He realizes there is nothing he can do to make this time of favor come, other than remain faithful in seeking the Lord.
All of us go through seasons like this, when we are desperate for God’s help and when we pray without ceasing, but also without apparent response. Like David in Psalm 69, we can pray, “Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble (69:17).” Yes, sometimes it does seem as if God is hiding from us. His answers come anything but quickly.
Thus we echo Psalm 69 in asking for a time of divine favor. We pray. We wait. We hope. Sometimes we may doubt, overcome by despair. But we continue to ask the Lord for a season of mercy. In those times, the Psalms offer encouragement that keep us going. We see that our struggles are not new, but have been found among God’s people for centuries. Reminded that God’s timing is not our timing and that his ways are not our ways, we persist in prayer, basing our hope on the goodness and grace of God. In his time of favor, he will act.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
As you think back upon your life, are there times that you might call “times of favor”? What happened in these times? How were you experiencing God’s grace and mercy?
What helps you to keep praying when you are desperate and God seems far away?
Do you need God’s favor today? For what? Have you asked God for this gift?
Gracious God, I can think of so many times when I have prayed in the mode of Psalm 69 – desperate and tired, yet persistent and hopeful. How often have I cried out to you for a time of favor. And how often have you blessed me. Thank you, gracious God, for your astounding faithfulness and mercy.
This psalm reminds me to pray for people in my life — and in this world — who are seeking a time of favor in their lives. I think of friends who have had such long battles with serious illness, or who continue to wonder if they’ll have enough money to get through the next month. I think of those whose children have gone astray, or who have recently lost loved ones. I think of victims of injustice or racism. For these friends and for others like them throughout this globe, I pray for a time of favor. Hear their prayers, Lord! Make known to them your love and grace… even today! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: When You Can’t Stop Crying Out to God
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.