Hear my cry, O God, from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
— Psalm 61:1–3
In college, I was challenged to write my own Psalm 63. Psalm 63, like many other passages in scripture, shows one’s honest and full desire and dependence on the Lord. As I started to honestly write my own Psalm 63, I quickly realized that my heart was nowhere near where it should’ve been. Maybe I felt self-sufficient enough not to need to depend on the Lord so much. Maybe I hadn’t relied on him enough before to understand everything he could provide. Or maybe I was too distracted in my own little world to understand truly how much I needed him, which would have spurred on my desperation for his provision.
Psalm 61:1–3, our main passage from Sunday, is such a beautiful outcry of a heart that understood its need for God and also understood its past provision from God. Honestly, this passage is pretty convicting. I sometimes pride myself in just trusting God and moving forward in faith, without fretting too much. I try to get over my circumstances and just keep living, trusting that he is in control and is good. While that might seem honorable to some, as it does for me in the moment, the reality is that I have become so self-reliant that I forget God. I move forward under my own strength. I manipulate my thoughts and just suppress them instead of clinging to God and being transformed and protected by him. I become satisfied with the peace he provides rather than also longing for him to do a mighty work. Then I wonder why every so often I have a moment where everything seems to hit the fan. And I think to myself, “Man, I thought I was handling it all so well!”
From this short passage of scripture we learn so much about David the writer, which provides the opportunity for us to learn so much about ourselves. It is obvious that David understood his own desperation for the Lord, and so much about the Lord’s character. David starts this psalm with a cry of prayer. Not my usual first step, if I’m being honest. I pride myself on caring about details and being a hard worker. So my first thought is, “How can I fix this?” “What is the real problem here so I can address it?” “What wisdom do I have to get myself (or others) through this?” So unfortunate. So unfortunate for someone who has seen God’s provision in my life just to be consumed with my own abilities. So sad that I would settle for my own power and direction and not even think about calling on the maker of the heavens and the earth for his power and might! Our very first step in times of trouble should be like that of David: going to God in prayer with a desperate heart, recalling who he is and what he is able to do. When we come to God first in prayer, it will focus our attention and desires on him, but will also draw us near to our rock and mighty fortress!
When we are in distress, whatever the reason may be, it is so vital that, instead of resting on our own abilities, but that we first cling to God. If you have trouble with this, as I do, maybe we should start reminding ourselves of all God has done for us as David did, “for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” Maybe we need to see how broken we and the things of this world really are and stop being satisfied with where we are. Maybe we need to admit that our lack of crying out to him isn’t always an indicator of stronger faith, but rather a lack of faith, or even a low view of God. (At least is the case for me.)
Times of uncertainty should allow for the faith-filled to glorify God in a greater way, and not prove how good we are at navigating through difficult times. Times of uncertainty provide an opportunity for us to cling to our heavenly Father and lean on his provision. And since my heart isn’t always inclined to first seek him during these times, I need to make sure that I begin reminding myself now of all he has done, can do, and promises to do so that when I am faced with a time of uncertainty, I won’t just be satisfied with having peace, but will be longing for God to do what only he can do. Will you join me?