Is there someone you love who now hates you? You know, without a doubt, that they want to see your demise? They want to see you torn down, destroyed or heartbroken?
You’re not alone.
I invite you to look at Psalm 3 (which was written over 3,000 years ago by the way). Regardless of their age, the Psalms are still singing to us today. Psalms, after all, are songs, Hebrew poetry, that was meant to be sung.
As a therapist, I am so encouraged by this incredible book from the Bible that gives voice to so much of the human experience.
Realizing that our God-given story is woven within His grander story of all of creation, is so much of what we work to help people realize and formulate in the therapeutic process. Talking about our feelings and our experiences is important. Your story is a valuable part of the tapestry God is weaving. And if you forget this – look at the Psalms.
I’d like to talk about a passage from just one Psalm right now, Psalm 3:1-6 ESV (listed below in italics). Let’s take a look:
1 Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
King David, the author here, is acknowledging having enemies; and don’t miss this, because this is personal. These aren’t just any enemies – David here is speaking of his own son, Absalom, and the people in the land who Absalom had turned against David.
They were out to kill David, and they were scoffing at him for his faith in God for deliverance. Do you relate?
3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
David then acknowledges the power and protection of the Lord which is all around him, and the lifting up in honor, after removing our shame. We may be attacked for a time, but we will experience eventual relief, and victory, although not always the “victory” we’re looking for.
David then goes on to speak of God’s faithfulness – God does not have to answer, after all, He is holy, but he does answer.
5I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.
David then shares that he can sleep, despite the attacks; he can rest and wake up again to face another day because God is sustaining him. Again, from the perspective of a therapist, this is so good to see in the Psalms – we need rest and sleep, particularly when going through stressful times, and God will provide this to us. He will sustain us when we trust Him for it. God is practical.
What’s interesting is that David doesn’t say that his trouble has gone away, in fact, he describes his trouble as worsening, but his fear has gone away because he acknowledges who God is. This is powerful. It’s when we put things in their proper order, we are able to have peace.
In the clearest possible language – God is bigger and more powerful than our enemies or any trouble that can come upon us. Sometimes we miss this because we have our perspective wrong; things are out of order and we are seeing our enemies as bigger than God. This is not true though – He is still bigger.
Can you relate to this passage? I know that I can. How encouraging is it to read this and be reminded of people, like King David, who came before us, who felt as we sometimes do, and who have experienced the faithfulness, the protection, and the sustaining of God?
So – what is it about the Psalms? They’re beautiful, they’re real and they apply to our lives even today, and tomorrow too.
As I’ll cover in the next few months, the Psalms show us that it’s okay to feel ambivalent (aka, having mixed emotions). They are authentic in their display of trials and human emotion; nothing is ‘sugar coated’ in the Psalms. They show us we can struggle, plead, and cry out to God but then we see the Psalmists ultimately praise God; and praising God is good for us.
I hope you’ll join me in this journey. More to come next week.