When Things Look Especially Icky (or, “Days of Discouragement & Determination”)

a dark day

When life really stinks, it’s easy to focus all our attention on the shadows, instead of trying to find the light. Oh, we’ll seek that elusive crack of light when the door first closes, but after a while, some of us just fall into the corner, shut our teary eyes and resolve ourselves to the worst.

Do I paint a grim picture, or is this more accurate than you’d care to admit?

In case you are feeling alone in your discouragement and grief, in Psalm 119, King David reminds us he knows EXACTLY how you feel.

Here are some examples of the sufferings he noted in this chapter:

I am completely discouraged—I lie in the dust…”

“I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow…”

“I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, exhausted with waiting…” (depressing, but cool word usage)

“I am close to death at the hands of my enemies…”

“My life hangs in the balance…”

“The wicked have set their traps for me along your path…”

Please note, however, that he also never stopped asking for help:

“Revive me by your word…”

“…encourage and cheer me with your words…”

“Lord, don’t let me make a mess of things.  When will you comfort me with your help?”

“…oh, give me back my life again, just as you promised me…”

“Look down upon my sorrows and rescue me…”

“…rescue me…as you have promised…”

That covers the King’s disheartened spirit and his pleas for help. Now I’d like you to notice the most important part of David’s prayers: his grit as he steeled himself to never turn his back on God.

“Help me, undeserving as I am, to obey your laws…”

“I cling to your commands…”

“…but I will not turn aside…”

“I am obeying your commands…”

“My eyes are straining to see your promises come true…”

“But still I cling to your laws and obey them…”

“I will not give up obedience to your laws…”

(and my personal favorite line of the whole chapter):

“I am determined to obey you until I die…”

So feel free to pour your heart out to the Lord and tell Him your troubles, but don’t forget to ask for help (not just spend your whole prayer complaining, as I’m apt to do when things look especially icky), and then resolve yourself to follow and obey Him, no matter what happens.

In closing, lest we end on a dark note: in the next chapter, Psalm 120, verse 1, King David wrote, “In my troubles I pled with God to help me and he did!”

 

 

 

 

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