Daily encouragement

Video by

Stuart Poteet

Discipleship Pastor

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Psalm 143:5-6

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; I thirst for you like a parched land.

Behind the Scenes

The Bible cares for us and our hearts in many beautiful ways. It provides us with direction, reminds us of truths, and challenges us to look inward to bring us closer to the Lord. The Bible also cares for us by keeping things real—it doesn’t shy away from the opportunity to show us that life is hard, and it doesn’t pretend like everything is always going to be okay. David’s life, as we read today, was peppered with hardship. But it’s through stories like his we can know that, while pain is part of our earthly lives, God’s faithfulness is timeless, and he cares for us deeply.

In Psalm 143, we read that David is pursued by an enemy and is stricken with pain. David explains that “he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead.” David admits that because of this burden, his “spirit grows faint” and his “heart…is dismayed.” David is feeling low, and he is honest about this pain with God. Not only does he feel “dead,” though, he feels “like those long dead” (emphasis added). David is beginning to waste away under a situation that seems never-ending.

I’ve been there before. I’ve experienced that long, dark season of life where I didn’t even desire happiness. I was in such a depressed place for so long, that happiness seemed like a dry land, and I felt like a fish. I felt like if I were to go on land, if I were to be “happy,” that I would dry out instantly. Happiness felt so foreign that I feared it would kill me.

Make it Real

But the reality was that whether I lived in the darkness of the water or lived in the light of the land, both places required something bigger than me to actually live a life of joy and clarity. I had to trust in God.

Immediately after telling the Lord that he feels long dead, David says that he “remembers the days of long ago” and he “mediates” on the things God’s hands have done in His graciousness and mercy. David doesn’t let his present struggle overwhelm his faith in God and his perfect will. Even when he is being hunted, David knows that God is still dependable, that God is still faithful, and that God is still God, because David knows that God is so much more than what we see on earth.

How quick are we, in times of trial, to question God’s character? How quick are we to say that because things aren’t good, God isn’t good? What's beautiful about David’s mediation in Psalm 143 is that he does not seek to empty his mind of all things, like we often view meditation today. In his time of trial, David doesn’t question God and depend on his own strategies to self-sooth, he meditates on the long, proven timeline of God’s goodness: “I remember,” he says, “the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” David allows God’s history of goodness to evidence that God has never and will never leave him. David’s pain seems long, but he knows God’s goodness has and will exist much, much longer.

Looking back, I realize that I was scared to feel “happy” because I was scared to have to be the reason things were okay. I knew myself enough to understand that I would never be strong enough to carry that responsibility on my own; I was never going to be able to make everything okay. David’s story reminds me that my job is to cultivate a relationship with the Lord, and to "spread out my hands” (Psalm 143:6) to him when things are tough, knowing that "the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

If this passage teaches us anything (and it teaches us a lot), it may be that we can lean on the stories of the past, and maybe even the stories of others, to remind us that God is the only One worth reaching our hands out to, and that he always has his hands reached out to us. We may never slay a giant like David did, but we can trust that God was the strength in that story, and that he is the strength in ours.

End in Prayer

Lord, you are so good. I am sorry for the times in my life when I have questioned your faithfulness, because you have left only a legacy of power and truth. You have never forsaken your children, and you will never forsake me. Please, Father, help me remember that you died on the cross for me, and that there is nothing greater you could do to prove your love for me. I am known and loved by you, and my prayer is that I know that in each moment of every day. I pray that my circumstance does not draw me away from you, but only brings me closer to the praise-worthy goodness of your character. I ask this in your mighty, holy, righteous name, Jesus. Amen.

Written by

Autumn Krueger

ACF Youth Culture Administrative Assistant