Isaiah’s Psalm

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 17, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Isaiah 38 as our Responsorial Psalm.

Although the verses are under Isaiah, they are actually the words of Hezekiah, a king of Israel during Isaiah’s time. Our first reading relates the story of Hezekiah’s mortal illness and the prophetic role Isaiah plays in his recovery.

Our psalm reemphasizes the power and mercy of God who delivers Hezekiah from death. Hezekiah’s vibrant images reveal the depth of his desperation:

Once I said,
“In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years.”

We all know what the prayer for deliverance feels like. It rises from the depths of our souls and repeats itself in a constant, “Please…”. We can think of nothing else but the favor we are praying for. We linger in our begging, sometimes for years.

Hezekiah stretches into the full extent of his pain with these striking metaphors:

My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.

Deliverance is that condition in which we, having lost all personal power to effect change, must be carried by another hand to life and well-being. If we can do that in faith, our prayer will be answered.

When it is, by either a merciful “Yes” or “No”, we will understand. It will be as if we have fallen from hanging by our fingernails into the enveloping caress of a feathered bed.

Those live whom the LORD protects;
yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me healing and life.

Poetry: For Deliverance from a Fever by Anne Bradstreet (1612 – 1672),  the most prominent of early English poets of North America and first writer in England’s North American colonies to be published. She is the first Puritan figure in American Literature.

When sorrows had begirt me round, 
And pains within and out, 
When in my flesh no part was found, 
Then didst Thou rid me out.

My burning flesh in sweat did boil, 
My aching head did break, 
From side to side for ease I toil, 
So faint I could not speak.

Beclouded was my soul with fear 
Of Thy displeasure sore, 
Nor could I read my evidence 
Which oft I read before.

“Hide not Thy face from me!" I cried, 
"From burnings keep my soul. 
Thou know'st my heart, and hast me tried; 
I on Thy mercies roll." 

“O heal my soul," Thou know'st I said, 
"Though flesh consume to nought, 
What though in dust it shall be laid, 
To glory t' shall be brought." 

Thou heard'st, Thy rod Thou didst remove 
And spared my body frail 
Thou show'st to me Thy tender love, 
My heart no more might quail.

O, praises to my mighty God, 
Praise to my Lord, I say, 
Who hath redeemed my soul from pit, 
Praises to Him for aye. 

Music: You Will Redeem It All – Travis Cottrell

You were there at the 
loss of all the innocence
You were there at the 
dawn of all the shame 
You were there, felt the
weight of all the helplessness 
put Yourself into the agony and pain

Nothing is hidden from Your eyes 
You flood the darkness with Your light 
I have this hope
as an anchor for my soul
You will redeem it all, redeem it all
Out of the dust into something glorious
You will redeem it all, redeem it all

You are here in the middle of my circumstance
You are here bringing purpose out of pain 
You are here restoring every broken path
Speaking life, You raise me once again
Nothing is hidden from Your eyes 
Out of the ashes I will rise  
Hallelujah in the waiting
Hallelujah even then  
Hallelujah for the healing
You will make a way again 

Hallelujah in the waiting
Hallelujah even then  
Hallelujah for the healing
You will make a way again 

Hallelujah my Redeemer
You redeem me by Your blood
Hallelujah! What a Savior
You turn evil back for good 
 Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! My Redeemer!
My Redeemer!     

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