Psalm 143 (NASB)
1Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!
2 And do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no man living is righteous.
3 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.
4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart is appalled within me.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You, as a parched land.
I have been reading Psalm 143 every day for over a week now. It has given me great comfort as I have been overwhelmed from all directions, it seems. In the midst of the past week that was trying, difficult, and at times completely overwhelming, this Psalm of David has been a refuge for me in the midst of crisis. When you are faced with being overwhelmed by the difficulties of life, and circumstances seem so out of control, you are faced with two choices on how to deal with those problems. You can either get down on your knees and pray to God for help, or you can choose to address those circumstances in a manner that is not godly or healthy. For me, I instinctively turn to God for strength in enduring the onslaught and coming out stronger on the other side.
Have you every prayed or cried out to God, like David did in this Psalm? The first thing David asks is for God to simply hear his prayer! This is a kind of praying that sounds almost desperate. God, please hear my prayer because I am in such a bad place that only You can save me. David wanted God to hear and understand his dilemma and he asks God to answer him out of God’s faithfulness and righteousness. David knows that when God promises to deliver his people that God must be true to His nature of faithfulness and righteousness. God may not completely answer our prayer in our time frame, but He will answer (or give a different answer) when He knows it is the best time for us. In the meantime though, God will comfort and give care to us because He absolutely hears our prayers and He loves us. God and God alone can bring us through any difficult circumstance that we face if we will only acknowledge Him and turn to Him in prayer.
As I was dealing with one very specific issue last week, I had a non-believer tell me, “You better start praying about this because I don’t see this ending well.” Now I’m really not sure of his mind set when he said that. At first, I thought he was mocking me but after some time has passed, I’m not sure that was his intent. Whatever his thought process was, I am sure of one thing. I’m certain that this man did not believe God would answer me and create a solution out of what seemed impossible. As this man kept giving me his opinion that the end solution would not be good, I continued to pray to God for direction and guidance. I also prayed for God to give me the words and the attitude to respond to this man so that I would not put someone else at risk. My faith in God and in God’s faithfulness gave me the strength to believe that God would deliver me from a seemingly impossible situation.
I love how honest David is in this Psalm. He knows and confesses that he is a sinner and he asks God to not judge him for his sinfulness. He is essentially saying, God, you know that no one is perfect. We are all sinners in need of your mercy and love. Be faithful God and deliver me from the enemy who has crushed me to the ground and who is persecuting my very soul and making me to live in dark places. David tells God, “my spirit is overwhelmed, within me.” David’s heart is appalled or desolate and He knows that only God can bring him out of the dark place that he is in. He knows that only God can save him and restore him.
After enduring five long days of worrying and not sleeping, I came to the end of my week. The problem that arose at the start of the week was solved and for that I give God all of the glory! And for the man that told me I better start praying, I wonder if he gave any thought to his comment about prayer. Hopefully, I will have another chance to have a conversation with him about the power of prayer and how my faithful and righteous God spoke powerfully in this situation. Now there are prayers of mine that remain unanswered and for those I just have to trust in God and in His timing. Whether it takes a month, a year, or ten years, I will remain faithful to God because I know He is faithful to me.
Prayer: God, I thank you for your faithfulness. You are a merciful and compassionate God and for that I praise you. In the midst of trying times, your great faithfulness gives us the hope to endure. And as we go through those moments in a way that glorifies you, we can be a strong witness to your power to those who do not believe. Help us God to live a life that sees your new mercies every morning and to rely only on you throughout our day, whether our day is easy or difficult. Help us to remember that there is never a moment in time that you do not watch over us. Amen.