Is it possible to make the journey through DEVASTATION, arriving at a place of CONFIDENCE? Is it even possible?
We all comprehend this thing called DEVASTATION. As card-carrying members of the human race, walking around in this fallen/broken world, we GET devastation. And chances are pretty good we’ve experienced it, to one degree or another. David certainly did. In Psalm 6 we get insight into David’s world. It must’ve been a very hard season for him because he described his life and his circumstance using words like:
my bones are troubled,
my soul also is greatly troubled,
weary with my moaning,
I flood my bed with my tears — and my couch…. day and night I cry!
It’s relatively easy for us to describe our pain, probably because it’s in the forefront of our minds, taking over our world. It can tend to be the loudest voice we hear….. crying out for attention! There’s just nothing about “pain” that endears itself to our soul. We want relief! And so our natural default is to ask God….. HOW LONG? And this is exactly what David did!
But as I think about David crying out to God, it occurs to me…. the very fact that he is speaking this lament TO God shows that David’s confidence is IN God! Even when we come to God questioning Him…. it still shows our confidence is in him,….evidenced by our coming in the first place!! And so we come …. bringing Him our pain, seeking to make sense out of it all.
David must have had it cross his mind that God was angry with him and that He was disciplining him for some reason…. I say that because —David said it! Right out of the gate, he starts his Psalm asking God not to rebuke him in His anger or discipline him in His wrath. He asked Him to “turn, deliver, be gracious, heal, save”! Ours is a God that we can be just this honest and raw with!
v.1 O Lord, rebuke me not in Your anger, nor discipline me in Your wrath. v.2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. v.3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But You, O Lord — how long?
He cries out to God, even venturing so far as to give Him a reason to “turn his circumstances”!! Have you ever done that?!! Well at least we’re in good company with David!! Let’s look at his first reason….
v.4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of Your steadfast love.
And then David gives somewhat of another reason for God to “turn his circumstances”, albeit I think he’s speaking somewhat amiss here, perhaps speaking from a place of “limited knowledge”. Ever find yourself doing that?…….. presuming things about God that just might not be totally accurate, or presuming upon God’s reasons for doing what He’s doing?!! Sometimes God’s doing a work, as stated in Psalm 139:6, that is “too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” But for whatever reason, David basically tells God, “if I die, I won’t be able to remember you… in the place of the dead, who will give you praise?”
v.5 For in death there is no remembrance of You; in Sheol who will give You praise?
I read that and it occurs to me…. did David really believe that? Did he believe that death would end his “remembrance of God”? But then it occurs to me that David lived in Old Testament times, so did he have full knowledge of God’s full plan? Was he speaking from the realm of “limited knowledge”? Anyway, all this to say, Old Testament David hadn’t yet seen God’s full plan unfold of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection, and thus we might assume he spoke of things he knew not! I know I, myself, can tend toward exaggerated lament! But at least David (and I) have the good sense to do our lamenting to God Himself! He can handle it and He can redirect our thinking when we are amiss! But on THIS side of the cross, the truth of the matter is: we all will most assuredly “remember God” after death—— we will full well know who He is…. (be it to our good or to our judgement, as the case may be), but we will all stand before Him!! And with regard to we who are His own, who have loved and worshiped Him, and have received the gift of new birth and new life through His Son Jesus Christ, we’ll praise Him for eternity ever after!!! There will never be a time when we don’t “remember God”!!
But in our devastations, pain can sometimes cloud our vision. Ahhh, but you have to love how God can take our prayers, our coming to Him with our pain, and He just has a way of turning us from said pain and toward Himself!! David goes from lamenting the tears that flood his bed (in v.6-7) to a place of bold confidence where he can dismiss the evil, confidently saying “depart from me”!!
v.6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. v.7 My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. v.8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. V.9 The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. v.10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
“The Lord has heard the sound of my weeping, the Lord has heard my plea, the Lord accepts my prayer!” ……….this awareness is a game-changer for David! He knows that God knows!! He has heard and accepted —— what a picture indeed of God’s steadfast love!
So I think about this thing of DEVASTATIONS…… (fill in the blank with yours)!! Whatever any of us might be dealing with…. and whatever the cause, be it God’s discipline or just the fact that we live in a fallen/broken world…. whatever our own situations might be — may we all continue to cry out to Him! Psalm 116:2 NLT Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Therein will we find confidence to travel the road we’ve been called to travel.
Lord, YOU are our confidence! You are bigger than this situation! So many things are just totally out of our hands…. but in a sense, that’s a good thing! I’d hate to think it was up to me to orchestrate the outcome! I’d rather trust the Creator of Heaven and Earth! We rest in You, asking for Your mercy and kindness and peace, asking You to increase our TRUST!!!
Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.