Praise for the Perplexed
On this Lord’s Day, bow for a moment of personal worship. Then, think of something to praise God for, and do so!
Read PSALM 143:1-12
 A psalm of David. O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.  Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.  The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.  So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.  I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.  I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah  Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.  Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.  For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.  In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectOn what basis does the psalmist cry for help?
Some of the words of the songs and hymns we sing seem to suggest that real Christians always feel good about life. This can be unhelpful, and even add guilt to our burdens. The book of Psalms helps us realize that we can praise God not only when everything is going well, but also when they’re not! David certainly had some really tough times when he was on the run from Saul, often fearing for his life and wondering whether it really was God’s plan for him to be king.
But he remembers God’s goodness in the past (5). Although the present looks grim, we know that God has been faithful before—in our own experience, in history and in the stories of others. He addresses God with honesty (4,7). We tend to say to God the things we think he wants to hear. But the psalmist tells God of his struggles and asks for the help he needs. And he acknowledges his dependence on God (7-10). Tough times test our discipleship. Do we give up on God or do we stick it out, knowing that, despite it all, his ways are best?
Talk to God honestly about how you are feeling today. Share directly any struggles or frustrations you have.
Lord, I’m thankful that I can always be totally honest with You and You won’t turn away from me.