In today’s psalm, David cries out for help and for God to hear his prayers. Later, David exclaims: “Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my please for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”
We are not told, however, of any kind of answer to prayer or of some miraculous deliverance. David did not convey what kind of circumstance was going on. As I pondered this psalm and its lack of life-detail, I wondered about David’s situation with several questions: Could it be that David gave God praise just for being heard by him? Was David cured in some way, or was he healed from the need to be healed? Was there even any deliverance that occurred? Did David come to praise God in spite of a lack of deliverance? Was David’s joy in his relationship with God conditional, or unconditional?
If we are blatantly honest with ourselves, we need to admit that far too often we have a particular outcome in mind for God to do with us. Our hopes and expectations are usually tethered to God doing something very specific so that, if it does not come to pass (or not come to fruition quickly!) we become discouraged and disillusioned. So, here is another set of questions I am asking myself: If my adverse circumstances do not change, can I praise God anyway? Can I, like David, take joy in simply being heard? Can I find gratitude in all situations? Do I only express thanks and praise to God when things are going my way? Am I open to whatever God wants to do in my life, even if it is not what I would choose? Do I feel that I am above having to put up with the wickedness of this world? Am I expecting heaven on earth, or am I willing to suffer as a believer in Jesus? The answers to those questions will determine the trajectory of our Christian experience.
I praise you, O God, in the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the failures and the victories. You are Lord over all things. You are my strength and shield in every circumstance. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen.