Turn to me and have mercy,
For I am alone and in deep distress.
My problems go from bad to worse.
Oh, save me from them all!
Feel my pain and see my trouble.
Forgive all my sins.
See how many enemies I have
and how viciously they hate me!
Protect me! Rescue my life from them!
Do not let me be disgraced, for in you
I take refuge.
May integrity and honesty protect me,
for I put my hope in you.
Whenever someone in my family is down in the dumps and complaining about their circumstances, we refer to it as having a “pity party.” It’s a gentle way of poking fun at the person and reminding them to not wallow in their misery. Most of the time, that nudge is enough to snap us out of our self-indulgence and make us reconsider just how petty some of our complaints can be.
However, occasionally things come along that are legitimately devastating…the loss of a job, the betrayal of a confidence, a family member struggling with addiction, a negative report from the doctor, the death of a loved one, etc. When this type of situation comes along it can knock the breath out of us, figuratively and literally. I remember a time in my own life where I was so overwhelmed by a situation that it manifested in physiological symptoms. I couldn’t breathe and I felt like the world was spinning out of control.
As I struggled to come to grips with the situation that was before me, a wise person instructed me to read through the Psalms again. Growing up in a Christian home, I had read through the Psalms several times in my life, but it wasn’t until I read them in a time of anguish and desperation that I truly appreciated them. As I read through the book it was as if all of the hurt and pain that I couldn’t articulate was poured out on the pages in front of me. There were times when I would try to pray, and not knowing what to say, I would simply pray the lines that had been written thousands of years before I was ever born.
The Psalmists, and David in particular, provided a road map to lead me out of the despair that I was feeling. In these verses, you can find the totality of human experience, the highs and lows, from jubilation to misery. But the thread that ties them all together is the consistent acknowledgement of the might, justice, grace, mercy and sovereignty of God.
When the sun is shining and things are grand, we can thank God for His blessings on our life. But when we are crushed by the weight of circumstance or reeling from the attack of enemies, we can turn to God as our refuge and strength. He is the source of help and hope that will never fail us. This knowledge is our anchor. It is a fixed point that we can use to orient ourselves and begin to make sense of all that we are going through.
We all face adversity in our lives; it is as certain as death and taxes. While some of those situations can be overcome with grit and determination, others are simply beyond anything that we can handle on our own. When you face these circumstances, I encourage you to do as David did…turn to the Lord. Put your hope in Him, and He WILL save you from them all!
Prayer: Father, You are our refuge and strength, the hope of our salvation. When we are faced with situations that are beyond our ability to handle, let us rest in the knowledge that You are Sovereign and Your love for us is never-ending. With You on our side, we don’t have to worry or be afraid of anything. We thank You for all that You do on our behalf. Amen.