Summary: How does the Bible speak into our seasons of intense loneliness? Does becoming a Christian simply make it all go away? Let's explore Psalm 142 for the answer.
A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.
1 I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.
Good morning. My name is Bobby Gilles, and I’m a deacon here. But though I’m a church deacon today, once upon a time I was a very creepy kid.
I loved to be scared. And the best time to be scared was Friday night, at the stroke of midnight, because that was “Fright Night” on channel 11. Each week at that hour, they played a classic black-and-white horror movie from the 30s, 40s or 50s. I’d sneak out of bed, down to our basement and kneel right in front of the TV, with the sound turned low (so as not to wake my parents). And so, at eight or nine years old, I saw Frankenstein for the first time.
In the original movie, a mad scientist named Dr. Frankenstein creates a being out of dead men’s body parts. But when this being comes to life, Dr. Frankenstein sees it as a hideous, dumb, uncontrollable monster so he abandons his creation. Eventually, villagers with dogs and torches chase the monster into a building and then burn it down, killing the monster.
But movie monsters don’t really die – at least, not the ones who make their studios lots of money, so the monster came back in a sequel called “Bride Of Frankenstein.” The monster gradually learns to speak rudimentary words and phrases. He tracks down Dr. Frankenstein, who is about to marry his beloved Elizabeth.
The monster threatens to kill Elizabeth unless Dr. Frankenstein creates a companion for him – a bride. Someone to love him, unlike the creator who abandoned him, and unlike the rest of humanity, who either run from him or try to kill him.
So the doctor does it. And when the Bride comes to life, the monster reaches out to her, tenderly asking, “Friend?”
She takes one look at him and screams.
The one created just for him has the same reaction to him as everyone else. Heartbroken, he says, “She hates me. Like others.” Then he blows up the castle, killing everyone in it and himself (until the next sequel, of course).
Do you know why many people are attracted to scary movies? There are a lot of theories, but one reason is they enable us to deal with our very real fears in a superficial, safe way. After all, what’s on the screen is on the screen, not with us. And it will end, usually in about 90 minutes. We’ve confronted our fears, and survived.
But the scary thing is that we haven’t really confronted anything at all. Whatever we were afraid of is still with us, waiting, like the monster under the bed or that scraping sound in the closet.
Frankenstein is a fictional representation of a fear that so many of us have: that, after our creation, the Creator took one look at us and wanted nothing more to do with us. So he left us alone in a world of people who are either hostile or indifferent to us.
And many times, even in a marriage that looks like a success from the outside, you lay next to your sleeping spouse, unable to rest, thinking, “She hates me. Like the others.”
“He ignores me. Like the others.”
Maybe it’s not a spouse. Maybe it’s your father or mother. Maybe it’s your kids. Maybe it’s your best friend since childhood, who all of the sudden has no time for you.
Maybe it’s everyone.
The writer of today’s psalm had as much reason as anyone to feel like Frankenstein’s monster. Look at the notation above the body of this psalm:
A maskil of David. When he was in the cave.
David had been a simple shepherd boy, but God chose him to be Israel’s next king. Then the current king, Saul, brought him into his household as his armor bearer, a highly respected position. And the Bible says Saul loved David greatly.