Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him,
My Savior and my God.
The nurse asked me to rate my pain level on a scale of one to five. One to five? Fifteen I screamed in my head! Then I breathed deeply and replied, “three”. A seemingly brave yet dishonest answer.
A simple surgery gone bad. A predicted one-week recovery turned into months of pain.
Yet another season of my life spent in physical pain and emotional defeat. Downcast and disturbed much like our favorite Old Testament shepherd turned king- David.
I love the Psalms. In the high and low turns of my life, I always go there. One-hundred and fifty Psalms written as poetry, prayers or music by fifty-seven authors.
Psalm forty-five, verse three is a repetition verse. These same words were spoken by David three times, refrains written by a hurting soul. When something repeats in scripture, I take notice. In this particular refrain, I see a pattern.
In the first part of the Psalm, David asked questions to himself, “Why my soul are you downcast…Why so disturbed within me?”
Me too David, me too.
To myself I’ve asked, “Why am I so down?” “What is wrong with me today?” To God, “God, why are you allowing me to suffer yet AGAIN?”
Life on earth is one big question mark.
And my friend, it is OK to ask. That’s what the people in the Bible did and so can we. Unload your heart to Him. We don’t have to be brave yet dishonest with our pain because He is the Mighty Counselor. He knows the pain you are experiencing is a fifteen and not a one.
But we must not stay here though, in this place of asking. It is essential to take the next step or bitterness and discouragement will consume us.
As we peek at part two of this Psalm, we see that David turned to HOPE and PRAISE after his time of questioning. “…Put your hope in God and I will yet praise Him…”
The Greek definition of hope is: confident expectation.
This is no willy-nilly kind of hope. This is a confident hope in knowing that our God is for us. We wait with expectancy, remembering He is there, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.
Next, after choosing to hope, David chose praise. Praise is my greatest comfort in trials. I call it “praise-therapy”. We praise Him not because He needs it but because we need it and He is worthy of our praise.
Matthew Henry said,
The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of mercies.
David’s blueprint is one to follow. Let’s go to God with our pain and honest questions, then let Him lead us to HOPE and PRAISE. Keep coming back to it until David’s pattern is your pattern.
Oh and here’s a little free advice… when the person who can greatly reduce your pain asks you to rate it, be honest and tell her it’s a fifteen. Save the bravery for another day.