By Brooke Holt
“In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!” Psalm 31:1-2
We have many available refuges in this world. Where do you go? I have run to many places seeking refuge only to be hurt, disappointed, or harmed. What about you? Have you found a safe place for your heart to be restored, your mind renewed, and your spirit set free?
King David was a man who learned to find his peace and strength in the Lord. Though David held the prestigious position as the king of Israel, his life was anything but easy. In Psalm 31, David cried out to the Lord in a lament. At the time, his own son turned against David, built an army to overtake the throne, and was actively in pursuit of his father. This uprising was both a physical and emotional challenge. Who could imagine one’s own son behaving in such rebellion?
David comes to the Lord desperate – desperate for the Lord to hear his cry and desperate for the Lord to act in his defense. As the king, David could have looked to his army as the first line of defense; yet he knew where his true help was found. In Psalm 121, David wrote, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). David entrusted himself to the Lord. From that place of trust and surrender, David expressed the depth of his pain: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also” (Psalm 31: 9). David does not suppress his pain or try to deny it. He owns it, expresses it, and trusts the Lord to hear and to act on his behalf.
David models an authentic prayer life with the Lord, and he shares the art of lament with all who read these psalms. I need this example! For many years I didn’t understand that I could bring my full authentic self before the Lord – the anger, disappointment, hurt, fear, frustration, despair, etc. I believed I had to bring my best self in worship and prayer, so my goal was to hide all those emotions I deemed negative.
God provides these prayers of lament to teach me and you that we are invited to bring everything to him in worship and prayer. He sees it all and understands it all, and he knows that those things to remain in the dark don’t get healed. What freedom to come to him just as we are!
The Lord is your refuge. He stands ready to receive you today. He is ready to hear your every prayer and to understand your every cry. May you look to him in your time of need and find the strength, perseverance, and peace that only he can provide.
Do you follow this example of David and bring your laments before the Lord? Are you open with him about the deepest pain in your life – your fears, frustrations, and disappointments? Do you entrust yourself fully to the Lord knowing that he hears you and acts on your behalf? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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