I read on a blog once the writer’s view of the book of Psalms. She talked about how it was a doorway into paradise. The Psalms soothed her, calmed her soul, brought tranquility and peace. She described it in a true and beautiful way. It’s wonderful how someone else’s view on something can affect me so much. After that, I started looking at the Psalms in new ways. Tonight, I tasted solace. I felt weary, troubled, discouraged and depressed. I’m reading through Ezekiel and 1 Corinthians, and after I had my nightly dose of those two books, I still felt a little unsatisfied. Rather like I hadn’t had enough to eat. So I thought of this lady’s writings about the Psalms, and I curiously opened to that book, hoping for the tranquility and peace of mind that I needed so badly. Somehow, I knew there was a specific one that I just needed to read. I flipped through the pages, and finally rested on Psalm 37. Of course. During all the hard times that my family went through, Psalm 37 was our motto, the thing we fell back upon when we were feeling discouraged. God’s promise towards the righteous, his everlasting covenant with them that never fails. I read through it, thought about closing my Bible, but my soul was still thirsty, so I read on.
Psalm 38:8-10 “I am feeble and crushed; I grown because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs, my strength fails, and the light of my eyes—it has also gone from me.”
verse 15: “But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”
verse 17: “For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin.”
Chapter 39:7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” [Emphasis added]
This was my solace. “It is for you that I wait. My hope is in you.” How lovely this sounded to my ears! The Psalmist was weary, he was crushed, he felt helpless and alone; yet, his hope was in God. He waited patiently for the Lord.
Chapter 40:1 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.”
verse 4: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie.”
verse 11: “As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!”
verse 12: “…my iniquities have overtaken me…. my heart fails me…”
Chapter 41:10-12 “But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them! By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.”
There are his distresses! There is the hope he looks forward to! His hope is in God, though he is overwhelmed. The promises are repeated throughout Psalm 37. That last bit: “You have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.” That is the fulfillment of the promise. That is the hope which we look forward to. The conclusion:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.” (Psalm 40:13)
Through this I glimpsed the solace. I felt it. Psalm 42:1-2 says: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” My soul thirsted for this living God, for the perfection, for his righteousness, for his love, for his presence. I longed to feel him within me, to see him working in me. I hungered after the Psalms tonight. I felt dry and deserty, as I would describe it, and I felt like I needed to be watered by something. I needed the reassurance of God’s promises, that he will bless and supply and grant and reward, that I need not fear anything but rest solely upon his promises, to put my hope in him.
“Why are you cast down, my soul? And why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation, and my God.” (Psalm 40:5) This verse is repeated throughout the next two or three Psalms. I struggle, the Psalmist struggles, you struggle, they all struggle. It’s part of life, actually. The Christian life is full of souls being cast down and in turmoil. Yet comes the command, the reproof. Hope in God, for I will again praise him, my salvation and my God. Hope is our cure, praise to God is our cure. As soon as the focus is off ourselves, we are lifted up to glory, we taste a moment of bliss, for our whole being is thrown into the worship of this Being greater than anything you ever imagined. The Psalms put into words the struggles everyone meets every day, but they add something else Christians don’t often think about when they struggle: the hope. The promise that this time of tribulations is not forever. There is relief, there is fulfillment. And my soul is now lifted up above my cares, communing with my Father, that I can say with the Sons of Korah in Psalm 45: “My heart overflows with a pleasing them.” (verse 1a.)
O Christians! Look forward with hope with me! Never cease to trust, never forget where your hope lies! If your hope is in God, you will not be failed! He will not fail you! He may not answer straightaway, but he will never leave you, or forsake you.
Someone inside of me just said: “How do you like THAT, Ruby? You felt all beat up about life, and yet there’s someone who’ll never leave you or forsake you. So, would you care to say again what the problem was? Still struggling, are you?”
No, I’m not. I’m not worried right now. Tomorrow might bring it’s cares and worries, but it will take care of itself. For now, I’m tranquil. I’m at peace, and I feel calm. The Psalms are a wonderful cure. It’s amazing how a few chapters of Scripture can change your attitude so quickly.