Updated: Oct 24
In the heaviness of heart, in the melancholic moments of mind, we, like David, must encourage ourselves in the Lord our God (I Samuel 30:6). Though it goes against every predilection of our flesh’s hardwiring, it’s imperative we seek heavenly perspective and strength, in our Father’s embracing presence and true Word.
Otherwise, the very real, very engulfing distresses of life will quickly overtake our hearts and minds; and the result will be panic, not peace. Fear, not faith. A woeful spirit, not a worshipful one.
For the past couple weeks, as I’ve been navigating through some circumstances that have stirred up a sense of disquietude within me, I’ve found myself lingering in Psalm 103, one of David’s many psalms of paramount praise. I love how David speaks directly to his soul in this psalm. Three times, in three separate verses, he instructs his soul—and "all [his] inmost being," essentially the core essence of who he is—to “Praise the Lord.” And then, in the greater part of the psalm’s remaining verses, David gives a detailed declaration of the core essence of who God is.
He’s the forgiver of sins, healer of diseases, rescuer of pit dwellers, bestower of love and compassion, and satisfier of desires—the ultimate giver of good things. And if these are not enough, he’s a worker of righteousness, worker of justice, compassionate father, and the one whose kingdom rules over all. He's the Lord whose mighty angels do his bidding and whose heavenly hosts carry out his will. The one whose created works, everywhere in his dominion, declare praise to his majestic name.
Oh, how this beautiful, sacred psalm—every inspired word in it—has deeply and specifically ministered to my soul in recent days! How it’s reset my focus and recharged my faith each time I’ve considered and meditated upon its truths—sometimes quietly and sometimes aloud in prayer—in both the darkness of the day's commencement, as well as day's completion. How it’s ignited a spirit of praise and worship within me, even in the midst of hard situations and uncertainties that tempt my heart towards anxiety and fear.
Truly, this is the provision and power of God’s precious Word at work, up close and personal, in the realities of life.
What a blessed gift it is that God so sweetly and graciously revealed his heart to humanity, in written word, bound up in the book that is the Bible. Oh, what a wonderful Creator he is! What a good, good Father is ours!
Fellow sojourner, like me, you may be presently battling your own hard realities. And like me, worry and fear may be pounding persistently on your heart’s door. If so, then I encourage you to model David’s habitual practice and encourage yourself in the Lord your God. Get quiet before your Father—as many times as needed—and invite his holy, true perspective into your perils and pressures.
With God’s Word as your text and his sweet Spirit as your counselor and guide, exchange fear for faith, panic for peace, woe for worship.
And. . .even if the hard doesn't improve, even if the perils and pressures become more and more grievous, Satan—the thief—will not succeed in robbing you of the abundant life Jesus' sacrificial death makes possible for you to experientially know, this side of Heaven.
One final thought: It never ceases to amaze me how specific and so very personal God's Word is in our individual lives, never more so than our great hours of need. And when we choose to seek solace and perspective from the pages of Scripture, instead of allowing our minds to wander and wallow in worry and weakness, then we're functioning most authentically like the deeply loved, well-cared-for children that we truly are.
Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31
Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-10