BY JESSICA SHERRILL, GRACE ATTENDER
A Plea for Deliverance and Forgiveness
A Psalm of David.
1 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
4 Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindnesses,
For they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
9 The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12 Who is the man that fears the Lord?
Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity,
And His descendants shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses!
18 Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies, for they are many;
And the hate me with cruel hatred.
20 Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all their troubles!
I really enjoy thunderstorms. I like to watch them in the distance, a wall of dark, ominous clouds, spitting out lightning and roaring with thunder. Yet, there I sit under a clear blue sky. Then there are storms like yesterday, where I’m trying to survive the heat in a pool under the blazing hot sun, and one rolls in, completely changing the ‘landscape’ of the sky. It happened quickly as I watched the sky appear to be split in half: one-half remained untouched, blue skies, white clouds, bright sun; the other half was completely smeared with this beautiful purple-grey hue. Soon, that darker sky overtook the sun. The leaves rustled in the wind; I could feel a change in the temperature. Then, the rain came down and I took cover inside. As I watched it rain, I thought about how summer this year started out like autumn, all that rain and constant overcast sky. It seemed pretty bleak at times. I had to remind myself of the truth about the sky…it was blue, and the sun was still shining even though I could not see it.
How true is this of the storms of life? All of us at one time or another, maybe it seems constant, have had these huge ominous storm clouds in layers above us. They vary in shades of grey, some very dark. You can watch them grow and billow up towards the heavens, blocking out the blue sky and sun. The expansion causes roaring thunder, chaos in your mind and heart. You’re afraid. You feel all of these overwhelming feelings, to possibly the point of physical pain. You are or feel alone. These storm clouds could be because of something you’ve done, or maybe what’s been done to you. Nevertheless, you feel hopeless. So, where do you take cover?
Reading verses 16 through 19 of Psalm 25, I couldn’t help but hear David talking about his own storm, taking cover in the Lord. What a testament of his faith for him to run to God, affirming his trust in Him from the very onset of his plea. He acknowledges the attributes of God, even remarking that they are from eternity. He asks for forgiveness, and he pleads for not only direction but God’s will. Then he tells God twice that he waits on Him. So many times, I run to God after the storm has centered overhead. So many times, I pray for my will. So many times, I forget to acknowledge the goodness of a God who knows how to fix what I have broken; the God who knows His creation best and how He is working His plan. And so many times, I pray for the storm to be over, not taking note of the lesson it’s going to teach me and how the rain shower could cleanse me. And so many times I do not wait on the Lord.
Even though distraught, David’s eyes remain where they should be, where ours should be, on the One in control of the storm. God the constant, unchanged since the beginning of time. The storms of life can quickly obscure a sky, instilling fear, causing doubt, distracting you, wreaking havoc in your faith. But did you ever consider that maybe that storm is there so you would seek shelter in the One who made you? Did you ever consider that God is waiting on you so that He can break through the clouds and let the sun shine through again? Maybe the rain was sent to renew the soil of your faith and trust? He is waiting to show you, teach you, and lead you through life’s storms. No matter the storm’s duration or intensity, the fact remains that the blue sky is still there. The sun is still shining. God is still there, just like the sun and sky, and He is still good, no matter what.
Questions for Reflection:
Do you run to God first? Or do you rely on yourself? Do you offer your soul up, not just words, as David did in verse one?
Can you think of the times in life that have strengthened your faith/trust in God?
Do you seek out God’s will in your life/situation? Or do you ask God for the outcome you want?
Verse 14 talks about the ‘secret’ of the Lord, which is a ‘confidential intimacy, a familiar interaction. Do you have that ‘secret’?
Do you focus on your storm cloud that is overhead or on the horizon? Or do you focus on the goodness of God with trust that He will break through it?
Pray. Go to God first, giving all of you fears and struggles to Him. Ask for forgiveness. Don’t forget to acknowledge that in the midst of your storm, He is still good, thanking Him for all He has done.
Be still and wait on God. Not just in prayer time, but throughout the day. Give your storm cloud to Him, leaving it with Him and trusting that He knows best. Pause before reacting or speaking.
Arm yourself with a breath prayer. David gives us a good one in verse four, “Show me. Teach me. Lead me.”
Arm yourself with scripture, which allows you to silence the lies, and focus on God’s truth. Here are a few to get you started: James 1:2; Lamentations 3:23; John 16:33; Romans 8:28; Micah 7:8; I Thessalonians 5:16-18; Romans 5:4; Hebrews 11:1
Have a physical reminder/practice in place. Whether that is journaling, or a designated prayer time, or a mantra written on a post-it, make it a habit to do or look at something that will change where you put your focus.