Facing Our Challenges

Hear my prayer, O LordGive ear to my supplications! Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness! And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous. For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead.  Psalm 143: 1-3

I have often said that the Psalms hold some of the words that seem most like my life. Psalm 143 is no different.  I think of the times when I have felt crushed and living in darkness.

For many of us, the enemy's that challenge us - unlike David's enemies - are enemies within.  We deal with physical challenges - enemies - if you will.  We may be beset by physical or emotional enemies. Our souls truly seem persecuted.

David's way of handling things is a bit different from what  I would have expected. 

He first asks God to hear his prayer.  

Doesn't it feel good when you feel heard?  When you know someone is listening?

We have the assurance that God does and will hear us. 

David reminds God (kind of an lol to me, as if God needs to be reminded of anything!) of His faithful nature and righteousness.  

He asks God not to judge him - reminding God (again) that no man is righteous.  We have an assurance David did not have.  Romans 8 begins with the words "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  Yet, we do need to keep ourselves "fessed up" as my gramma used to say.

Then, David minces no words.  He tells God exactly how he feels: persecuted - crushed - dwelling in darkness.

I think many folks think we are to simply paint a smile on our faces, tout some trite little phrase and just get on with it, illness or no illness.  

David shows something different.

David shows a relationship so close that he is able to go to God with his true feelings.  He brings his deepest despair to God.

Have you ever wanted to say to God,  "Hey, God ... this hurts!  It feels awful! I hate what is happening right now" and then felt like you shouldn't?  As if somehow it is bad and wrong to tell God these things?

Newsflash (maybe) - 

God already knows.  Painting that smile on our face might fool others, but not God.

I used to wonder what the point was in all of this.  If God already knows - why tell Him?

I think it is more about our admission that we need God, than it is about informing Him we have a problem.  He already knows exactly what is happening in our lives. Nothing takes Him by surprise. 

I think, too, that it is symbolic of the friendship we can have with God.  Have you ever gone to a best friend to weep on their shoulder, only to find out they already knew you were hurting?  Yet what relief there is to have that person to talk to - to say the words out loud.  Somehow the healing can begin when we voice those words.

How wise David was to voice those words to the only one who holds the true solution.

(More on Psalm 143 tomorrow - David doesn't simply stop with the voicing of His pain!)

Father God, help us to remember to come to You when we feel as if we are dwelling in darkness.  Help us to be completely honest with how we feel, looking to You for Your righteous faithfulness.  Amen and Amen.

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