One of the things I often do, when I am feeling anxious, or troubled, or struggling to find the good in a situation, or even when I am feeling grateful for some blessing that I’ve become aware of, is to page through the Psalms. Many of the Psalms in our Bible were written by someone who was struggling or was facing trouble caused by some adversary, or suddenly was confronted by their own sins, or in the midst of a trial, simply couldn’t understand the meaning of what it was they were going through. That someone was often David:
My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
and my neighbors stand far off.
Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin, and meditate treachery all day long…
But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I pray, “Only do not let them rejoice over me, those who boast against me when my foot slips.”
For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me.
Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, do not be far from me;
make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation.
We’ve all been in that place and felt like the world was against us and God was far away. But then I read other Psalms which contain the words of that same David, and it is clear that David knew that no matter what it was he was dealing with, God was with him, and God would see him through the struggle, the trial, that tough time he was facing. It didn’t matter what he was dealing with, David always seemed to see the hand of God in his life, and he was intentional about singing his praises to God for God’s visible, yet invisible presence.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
As I read David’s words in Psalm 92, and other Psalms of praise, I ask myself, “How often do I praise God like that?” The answer comes back to me – “Not nearly enough.” Why is that? Maybe because I don’t look outward with the eyes of the Spirit. Maybe because I look inward a little too much and let the things that the world and other people do dampen my spirit and close my heart. And let’s be honest, that is SO easy to do. It’s easy to slip into that place where we get so overwhelmed that we close down and stop looking for God’s presence in our life, and so, find it hard to see all the reasons we have to give God thanks and praise.
Psalm 100 echoes some of Psalm 92, as it reminds us, “The Lord is good, and his(her) steadfast love endures forever, and his(her) faithfulness to all generations.” All generations. Not just our parents, or our grandparents, or King David’s generation. All generations, even yours and mine.
We have a God who is always faithful, who is ever present, and who always loves us, just as we are. Without condition. Doesn’t that make you want to sing His/Her praises too? Doesn’t that make you want to look around for what great works/things God is going to do next in your life?
Blessings and Peace,
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. – Psalm 63:1-7