Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up. (Psalm 71:20)
As I write this reflection, I’m in a particularly dark mood. I look back on my life and see many bitter troubles. I see them in my present circumstances, hounding me with doubts and misgivings. Lately, it seems the only pleasant hours of the day are those I spend sleeping. Fortunately, my dreams have yet to turn to nightmares, yet as I awake from pleasant dreams, I am faced with the reality that I’d much rather go on sleeping.
I can dwell on these troubles or instead focus on the promise of this Psalm – the One in control of our destiny ultimately revives me and gives me hope. Part of the wondrous beauty of the Psalms is the marvelously complex portrait of God they paint. God is much more than a kindly, ineffectual “Papa” to be manipulated for gain. God is also much more than a vengeful Father demanding more from us than we can bear.
God is our deeply compassionate “Abba” who knows we sometimes need to face harsh realities, yet is eager to lift us up should we fall.
When I am in such dark moods that even my prayers won’t come to light, it helps to have the Psalms in hand – to be reminded of the light that shines through the darkness. Verses like this give me hope that God is still in control and is working all things out for good, in spite of how the enemy within and around us makes things seem.