The psalmist says that his life is “spent with sorrow.” In all likelihood this does not reflect his entire existence; but at this particular moment, his experience is real and seemingly pervasive. These words depict the painful parts of our living. Much like a country song that is sung with a twang of despondency, the psalmist gives voice to a bleak existence. He is in distress: his eyes grow weak, his soul and body grieve; he is in anguish and is groaning. His strength fails; his bones grow weak. Each description becomes a different verse of the same song of despair—graphic lyrics that paint the portrait of his humiliation.
Humiliation and despair, however, are not the final word. This song has a chorus that provides an antidote to the current plight of the worshiper: “But I trust in you, O Lord; . . . You are my God. . . . My times are in your hand.”
As in many of the laments in the Psalms, the one who seems lost, overwhelmed, and disoriented finds foundation, a solid place to stand. The psalmist knows that God is with him.
In the end, it is not only important that we believe in God. It is important what kind of God we believe in! In the first eight verses of the psalm, the psalmist stacks metaphor upon metaphor and image upon image to communicate the kind of God he trusts in and in whom his hope lies. This God is refuge, deliverer, rock, fortress, guide, redeemer, and steadfast love. This God listens and sees the psalmist’s despair.
We cannot say for certain that bad things will not befall us. However, the guarantee is that God’s gracious hand has already been extended. Distress and depression, betrayal and ridicule, acute contradictions—even crucifixion—do not have the final say.
Faithful God, we look back on the tumultuous and chaotic times in our lives and realize that you have always been with us. We are grateful. Amen.