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Do you ever talk to yourself? Most people say that’s not too concerning. They say the alarming part comes with the realization that you aren’t just talking to yourself. You’re answering.
I guess I’m in trouble.
Yet, I take heart in the fact that I’m in good company. King David spoke to himself and answered himself in Psalm 42. As a matter of fact, he questions himself and answers himself twice — at differing times — with the same question and answer, (verse 5 and verse 11).
Supposedly, during the time this Psalm was written, King Saul was either hunting David down like a wild animal or his own son, Absalom, was rebelling against his authority and kingship, trying to usurp the throne. Either way, when David wrote this psalm, he was having a rough go of it. His heart was breaking, evidenced by verse 3, in which says his tears were his “food day and night,”
Ever been there — when it seems all you can do is cry? Not a very fun place to be.
So how does David “get over it?” How does he deal with this deep-seated, painful state? Well, the first thing he does — the most important thing — is that he takes his turmoil to the Lord. He spends time with the Father. And I don’t mean just five minutes in the morning when he rolls out of bed. He “pours his soul” out to the Lord completely — all his anxiety, all his heartbreak, all of his deep discouragement.
Secondly, David doesn’t allow himself to stay in that frame of mind. Instead, he spoke directly to his soul, challenging and answering its emotions — encouraging himself in the Lord.
“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
Isn’t that beautiful? David didn’t hide how he was feeling from the Lord. He didn’t pretend that everything would be OK and that nothing really touched him emotionally. He was gut-wrenchingly honest with the Lord about how he was feeling.
But his answer shows he was also clear and determinedly hopeful: “Hope in God for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
In the midst of his despair, David challenged his soul and then encouraged it: “Soul, don’t be sad. You know this will work out for the best. Put your hope in God. He’s the one in control anyway, and if He wants this to change, it will. So, hope in Him. Trust Him…that He knows what He’s doing. Be thankful and expectant to see Him work in the midst of this ugly situation. Hope in God, my soul. Hope in God.”
I think we can learn a huge lesson from David here. I think David shows us the “realness” we crave. In this crying out to God, he shows us that everything in the believer’s life is not roses. There is sadness. There is pain. There is heartbreak. There is distress and deep hurt. There is debilitating grief.
Yet, David didn’t allow himself — or us — to stay intertwined in it. Instead, he encourages himself and us to pour out our hearts to the Lord as well as take our thoughts captive; to challenge what we really believe in times of great loss, to put feet to our faith and hope in God.
I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to believe that talking to and answering myself might not be such a bad idea after all.
Prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank You for being that help. Thank You for remaining with me in times of trouble and orchestrating those times to bring me closer to You. I love You, Lord.”
Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and firstname.lastname@example.org.