We all go through difficult times. Life is tough. When I’m going through trials, I like to turn to Psalms and read David’s cries to God. Sometimes it helps to stop my personal “pity party” and look around at how good I actually have it. When I consider the plight of David, I realize I was never asked to be king, never hunted down by a warrior, never asked to fight a giant Philistine, never made to live in exile in the wilderness. My life, as hectic as it seems sometimes, pales in comparrison.
Today, my reading brought me to Psalms 69. The first thing I notice made me laugh. Look at verse 1:
1 For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Lilies.” Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Oh – okay, let me get my hymnal out and look up the song, “Lilies”. Too bad we don’t have the musical score from David’s day. I’m curious how these verses fit into a song. Certainly not the structure of modern music.
Next, look at the anguish in David’s soul. He cries out to God in time of need:
2 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold to stand on. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. 3 I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched and dry. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. 4 Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs on my head. These enemies who seek to destroy me are doing so without cause. They attack me with lies, demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.
5 O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you. 6 Don’t let those who trust in you stumble because of me, O Sovereign LORD Almighty. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.
7 For I am mocked and shamed for your sake; humiliation is written all over my face. 8 Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me; they treat me like a stranger. 9 Passion for your house burns within me, so those who insult you are also insulting me. 10 When I weep and fast before the LORD, they scoff at me. 11 When I dress in sackcloth to show sorrow, they make fun of me. 12 I am the favorite topic of town gossip, and all the drunkards sing about me.
13 But I keep right on praying to you, LORD, hoping this is the time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation. 14 Pull me out of the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Rescue me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. 15 Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. 16 Answer my prayers, O LORD, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Turn and take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. 17 Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! 18 Come and rescue me; free me from all my enemies.
19 You know the insults I endure the humiliation and disgrace. You have seen all my enemies and know what they have said. 20 Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me. 21 But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine to satisfy my thirst.
22 Let the bountiful table set before them become a snare, and let their security become a trap. 23 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their bodies grow weaker and weaker. 24 Pour out your fury on them; consume them with your burning anger. 25 May their homes become desolate and their tents be deserted. 26 To those you have punished, they add insult to injury; they scoff at the pain of those you have hurt. 27 Pile their sins up high, and don’t let them go free. 28 Erase their names from the Book of Life; don’t let them be counted among the righteous. 29 I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power.
In the typical David fashion, he always turns it around to praise for God. This is the encouragement for today for me: it’s okay to cry out to God and tell Him everything you’re feeling (He already knows anyway, right?). But, it’s important to bring it all back to praise – acknowledge Him for His favor and goodness. He cares for us more than we know – and trials themselves bring us strength and teach us and grow us.
30 Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. 31 For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing an ox or presenting a bull with its horns and hooves. 32 The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help live in joy. 33 For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones; he does not despise his people who are oppressed. 34 Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them. 35 For God will save Jerusalem and rebuild the towns of Judah. His people will live there and take possession of the land. 36 The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land, and those who love him will live there in safety.
Are you having a bad day? Are you having a bad year?
Tell Him! Then praise Him.