When I read the Psalms I hear human voices.
I hear real people living real lives facing real problems.
Life and death and celebration and devastation-all laid bare for the ages.
They give me courage to speak plainly to God.
They help me frame my own struggles in the context of who God is and not only what I feel.
I love You, Eternal One, source of my power.Psalm 18:1-5 VOICE
2 The Eternal is my rock, my fortress, and my salvation;
He is my True God, the stronghold in which I hide,
my strong shield, the horn that calls forth help, and my tall-walled tower.
3 I call out to the Eternal, who is worthy to be praised—
that’s how I will be rescued from my enemies.
4 The bonds of death encircled me;
the currents of destruction tugged at me;
5 The sorrows of the grave wrap around me;
the traps of death lay in wait for me.
David had escaped Saul’s attempt on his life. He could have given credit to his superior battle skills or ability to hide or just plain luck.
But he didn’t. He understood that God alone determined the outcome.
David knew that God was his true stronghold-not the cave or the tower where he might hide.
He is reminding his heart of truth-something I had to do the day Dominic left us.
I have never felt so desolate as the early morning when I was told my son was dead. My physical life wasn’t threatened but the life I knew was shattered.
The “bonds of death” circled my heart and I could feel them squeezing tighter and tighter.
Sorrow swallowed me whole.
There was nowhere to hide from the awful truth that death was on my doorstep.
In the hours between the knock on the door and sunrise I kept assuring myself that God was still God. I kept repeating that He had not abandoned us.
And then (because I didn’t know what else to do as I waited for family to gather) I went out to feed the animals.
Walking toward the rising sun I choked out the words to a favorite song:
The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes
Bless the Lord oh my soulBless The Lord, Oh My Soul by Matt Redman
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
There was no moment of divine revelation.
I didn’t feel the burden lift.
But I knew if I didn’t remind my heart of truth, I’d be headed toward a darker path than the one I was already walking.
“I call out to the Eternal who is worthy to be praised-that’s how I will be rescued from my enemies.”
- Why do you think it’s important that even when we experience victory, we acknowledge God as the One who gives it to us?
- Are you ever tempted not to?
- Obviously I’m sensitive to the fact that as bereaved parents our child was not physically saved. Does that make it hard for your heart to think of God as a fortress, shelter, safe place? Why or why not?
- Even though I have not faced my own death, I find David’s description apt for the dark feelings that threatened to undo me after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven. Do his words resonate with you?
- David was a man on the run for years. He spent a lot of time in the rocky wilderness and describes God in ways that reflect his personal experience. If you were going to describe God as a place of safety, what words would you use that reflect yours?
You are most certainly worthy of praise simply because You are God. Sometimes I struggle to praise you because You do not always give victory in the here and now and that’s hard to take. You don’t always step in and assure physical safety and that hurts my heart.
But you always invite me to bring that pain to You. You are a stronghold for my heart.
When the enemy of my soul whispers lies in my ear and tries to convince me You don’t care, help my heart refuse to be led astray. When despair tries to drag me down, speak courage to my soul and lift me up.
You have made every provision for our ultimate victory. Death doesn’t get the last word. Life does! Thank You for that promise.