When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.

For those of us who have trouble sleeping, this part of the psalm has special meaning. It was this passage which helped me when I was suffering a prolonged period of ill-health which often made sleeping a problem. It allowed me a way into a place where I could structure that time to be part of a prayerful meditation.

It did feel as I imagine it would feel in the desert without water, indeed it helped focus my anxieties. What was I looking for became who was I looking for, which reminded me that in all my anxieties I was not alone. It was so easy to lose sight of any sort of bigger picture, and this psalm was like manna in the wilderness. It spoke to the deepest part of me. When I reached out, I knew he was there, and I did, as the psalmist did, feel protected under his wing.

I find what I call the ‘revenge motif’ in the psalms hard to cope with. Its not that I have not had experience of people being nasty to me, far from it, but I cannot think that such people becoming ‘spoil for jackals’ is something I want. If they go to the ‘lower parts’ it is because they take themselves there, despite my prayers for them, and the sword with which they are slain is the one they wield. At least, that is how I have come to think of this motif which runs through so many psalms.

It may be that in distress the thought of one’s “enemies” getting their comeuppance is a source of comfort, but that’s not what Jesus asked us to do with our enemies. Sometimes, in those reaches of the night, it helped to pray for those who needed prayer without even knowing it.

And when the morning light came, and the dayspring from on high with it, somehow I felt lighter and less anxious.