“Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:6-7)
In ninety sappy minutes the Hallmark station solves a myriad of problems, straightening out complicated scenarios with absolute ease. But life rarely lines up accordingly. Our days more often resemble a combat movie and a perplexing mystery novel having a showdown at high noon. Gritty, unpredictable and messy don’t ever take a break between commercials.
Standing inside such a scene, when life’s current seems like a burnt out 40-watt light bulb, a sense of unease drapes our unknowns. This is the perfect time for the direction that King David’s songs express; they are lantern and light beam to illuminate and dispel this murky hold. He tells us, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:11-12).
When fear plunges us beneath sheets of freezing water, and piercing icicles lodge inside our veins, David’s poetry is fire to warm and thaw. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid…Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” (Psalm 27:1,3). Confident that he is fully present, even though our circumstances dictate otherwise. Confident that in the middle of the mess he dispenses courage to manage this minute, and then the next one as it comes toward us with menacing power.
When we navigate a forced march through unfamiliar territory, besieged by problems we hardly knew existed, the shepherd king gives voice to our desperate pleas: “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion…May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! ” (Psalm 20:1-2,4)
David sets the example in countless verses, compelling us to believe that God can be trusted and that his faithful promises will carry us through our present worrisome situations. “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand’…Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!” (Psalm 31:14-16).
No movie can ever match that lineup.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell