The Old Testament book of Psalms is a rather amazing collection of personal prayers, praise, and songs. This section of the Bible contains 150 such prose written by names both recognizable and unrecognizable to readers. Moses wrote Psalm 90; King David wrote 73 (with an additional three Psalms attributed to his pen); David’s son Solomon wrote two; Asaph, a Levite, wrote 12; the Sons of Korah wrote 12; along with additional authors. The content of Psalms ranges from the deepest, darkest cries of despair from the hearts of the author to the unbelievable soaring of praise and gratification to our loving God. It is to this compilation that we can turn to when words fail us and we need to express our inner most thoughts and emotions. And turn to the Psalms I have, time and time again.
It seems like each time I turn to a familiar Psalm, there’s something new that I discover, something new that God reveals to me. Perhaps it’s my naivety talking here, but I don’t find that experience with other literary works. There’s such depth covered in these individual prayers that, delightfully, I cannot grasp in only one reading.
Psalm 22 was written by David during a rather difficult time in his life. It discusses the deep despair that he felt during tenuous time in his life. Written some 800 years before Jesus, it is also a rather prophetic psalm which aptly describes the agony that Christ suffered on the cross. It’s even more interesting how David detailed crucifixion some 400 years before this particularly cruel form of execution was even devised.
Yet, even in describing the deepest form of despair that he was experiencing, David still manages to rest on his personal knowledge that God is there, God will have victory, and that God is listening. In his deep despair David still manages to give God praise:
2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me.
They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
8 “Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
let the Lord rescue him!”
9 Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
10 I was thrust into your arms at my birth.
You have been my God from the moment I was born.
19 O Lord, do not stay far away!
You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
22 I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among your assembled people.
24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them,
but has listened to their cries for help.
25 I will praise you in the great assembly.
I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
All who seek the Lord will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. (NLT)
As I read this Psalm that seems to cover the full gauntlet of human emotions, I was inspired. I admire David’s ability to pen a prose that to this day can establish hope to those of us experiencing the darkest of days. And, a song by the Christian group Casting Crowns came into my mind – “Praise You In This Storm.” If you have not heard popular song by now I have included a link to a You Tube video below. The words of this song could have easily been penned by King David, as it so aptly describes the type relationship that he had with God.
“And I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
That you are who you are
No matter where I am”
Yet, how many of us actually take time to praise God in the midst of our own personal storm? While I would like to say that I indeed do, those words would be hollow. I do, at times, acknowledge that God is there, but do I praise Him while in the storm?
I should praise Him. I should praise Him no matter what my life’s circumstances are, at any given moment. In times of stress, illness, anger, aggravation, disappointment, and the like, I should praise Him. Not only because He’s worthy of praise, but also because He’s always brought me through the myriad of things that life, and the enemy, have thrown at me.
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that so very often my thoughts, words, and actions do not display that which I know about you. That you are perfect, your timing is perfect, you love me deeply, you are trustworthy, you have my best interest at heart. Help me to remember these things about you when the storms in my life rage around me. Provide me with the peace, that can only come from you, so that I too can, and do, praise you in the storm. Amen.