Although it’s fairly uncommon for someone my age, I came down with shingles early this month. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. I had a pretty bad case of chicken pox as a child and the virus remained dormant in me until August 3. Induced by stress, sores started appearing on my chest and side and back. At first, it was just a bit annoying. However, within a week or so, the sores became extremely sensitive to pressure of any kind. Even the ceiling fan had to be turned off because the gentle wind caused my nerves to fire all the way to my toes and fingers. A strange sensation for sure.
Now, only a few weeks later, I’m practically over the drama. I had lots of folks praying and I appreciate the prayers. The sores have all but healed and the nerve pain has diminshed to nearly nothing but an occasional stab.
Through the process, my first reaction was to pray – and to praise Him. Quite possibly for the first time, this felt natural and not forced. Hmmm…perhaps I’m finally starting to learn something.
Even this personal setback pales in comparison to David’s plight. That’s why I can so relate to the writings of David.
Psalms 71 is yet another cry from David’s heart – here in his old age. Even in his advance years, David understood the need to seek God – and to praise Him even through the difficult times.
Take a look at the last half of this chapter – it’s preceeded by David’s cry of anguish for what he’s going through – people mocking him, saying God has abandoned him, whispiring against him, plotting to kill him. A far cry from an outbreak of shingles…
Yet David’s response is praise:
15 I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, for I am overwhelmed by how much you have done for me. 16 I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign LORD. I will tell everyone that you alone are just and good. 17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I have constantly told others about the wonderful things you do. 18 Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. 19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? 20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. 21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. 22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O God. I will sing for you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel. 23 I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have redeemed me. 24 I will tell about your righteous deeds all day long, for everyone who tried to hurt me has been shamed and humiliated.
So much for me to learn here. I want to respond like David did every time – with praise and confidence that God will rescue me. Just reading this passage gives me comfort and strength to make it through yet another trial.
God is good.