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Fall 1993 · Vol. 22 No. 2 · pp. 94–95 

A Psalm of the Unemployed

Gerald Hildebrand

O God, I cry to you,
but silence fills the air

I call for understanding,
but the congregation does not explain.

My words crash against the empty walls
and there is no echo;

Tears flow from my face
only to be dried by the heat of anguish.

The pious offer cheap advice,
few offer counsel;

The self-made person says “Get a job!”
but little does he understand.

In anger I cry out,
“Why do they assault me?”

There is no understanding of chronic pain
in a world of quick fixes and instant solutions.

How long, O Lord, how long
must I endure this agony?

How long must my family see this broken man
and tenderly carry his aching soul?

The mirror reflects the shell of a man
once beaming with self-confidence;

My feet are sore from pounding the pavement
and my heart is crushed by another letter of rejection.

I have put my trust in you, O Lord
you have been my rock in days gone by;

I have called on you
and you have answered me! {95}

Rebuild my life, O Lord,
bring rest to my troubled soul;

Restore joy in my inmost being,
and create in me a heart of compassion.

Let me not be dominated,
nor let me dominate;

Make me a servant, Lord,
and may the towel and basin always be close at hand.

Give ear to my plea, O Lord
and I will teach others of your care;

Give me understanding for those whose lives
are chaotic and out of control.

I will again put my trust in you, O Lord
my confidence will be in you.

I will listen to the counsel of the wise,
and I will accept the way of wisdom.

For your mighty hand upholds
the weary heart of the downtrodden;

Your everlasting arms embrace
those who have been shut out and are alone.

May your lovingkindness be known
in all the earth;

May your faithfulness be heard
from generation to generation.

Gerald Hildebrand, a student from Winnipeg at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, submitted this poem as a modern psalm of lament for a psalms class.

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