Wednesday Reflection – June 26, 2019
In the Midst of the Storm
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also. Psalm 31:9
I’ve always said that one of the main reasons why I so love the Bible is that it is a real book, with real people, facing real situations, in the midst of a real God. Whichever characters in the Bible we pick out, they all faced real issues; they had their storms to go through. Even Jesus had to deal with real-life issues such as the temptation in the wilderness, and his agony in Gethsemane as his gruesome death became imminent.
David faced a myriad of challenges and storms in his life, from childhood to his reign as king. Psalm 31 paints a picture of a man in great distress and trouble. This Psalm is a prayer by David who suffers unjustly and in that suffering puts complete trust in God. The Psalm begins and ends with petitions for God’s favour and protection. In today’s text, David cries to God to be gracious “for I am in distress.” The word for distress may apply to many circumstances. It derives from a verb that means “to bind” or “be restricted.” Thus the noun communicates the idea of being in dire straits, with no possible escape. He is facing yet another storm.
But what’s the nature of this storm? David describes it as a trap, wicked actions of the enemies, abandoned by friends, slander, conspiracy, plot to kill him, and lies. Then he gives a litany of symptoms of this distress that suggests sickness, depression, anguish, sorrow, grief, and shame. The Psalmist is overtaken with the forces of death that rack the body and spirit and allows his enemies to have their way. Thus, he asks God to intervene and deliver. For David, his problem warrants action from God; his distress is reason enough for God to act.
What are the lessons here as we face our own storms?
1. Entrust ourselves completely in the care of the Lord. David voices complete trust in God despite the dire circumstances. He declares, “you are my God,” which is to say, “you control my life” (verse 14). Verse 15 uses the word “hand,” which refers to power and authority to describe the locus of the Psalmist’s hope. David acknowledges that he has no power to affect the future. This power is God’s alone. We would do well to put God in charge of our storms and trust him for the outcome.
2. Remember God’s steadfast love. David says that he remembers God’s steadfast love when he was besieged in a city and felt he was cut off from God’s sight. But God heard his cry and helped him. God’s steadfast love refers to his covenant faithfulness, as one who does not abandon those who rely on him. We can rest assured that the God who has been faithful in the past, remains faithful forever.
3. Praise God. When we praise God and celebrate his goodness, our sorrow is transformed into joy. Praise has a way of stirring our spirits, while confusing the enemy. Praise is an antidote for sorrow and anguish.
May God take us safely through our storms.