August 20 – God Can Help Me

Psalm 40: 1 – 8   NLT

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.

Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
    who have no confidence in the proud
    or in those who worship idols.
O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
    Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
    You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
    I would never come to the end of them.

You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
    Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand –
    you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
Then I said, “Look, I have come.
    As is written about me in the Scriptures:
I take joy in doing your will, my God,
    for your instructions are written on my heart.”

David is thankful. He’s been through really hard times, and God has stayed right with him.

 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.

David is struggling with depression, despair. What does he do? Where does he go? When I was in my thirties and early forties, I went through some years with depression and anxiety. It may have been triggered with post-partum depression, but there were also a lot of other things in my life that needed straightening out. I tended to have a list of high expectations for myself, and being at home with three young children demanding my time and energy was so frustrating. How can you ever get anything done? When I realized I needed help, I called my doctor and he started me on meds and referred me to a Christian counsellor. That started me on a new course as I began “lifting out of the pit of despair”. 

I had been raised in a Christian home, and had been active in my church throughout my life. I knew a lot about Christian doctrine and expectations, but what I learned through those hard years was I needed a personal, close relationship with God. God was the one who could reset my life on a new and better path. Like David, I learned not to depend on all the advice I got from people at work, from the latest social/psychology books on the market, people who had no relationship with God at all. I also realized that my help from God didn’t depend on the hard work I was doing. I didn’t have to live up to some high expectation for God to love me. Just like David – “You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand – you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.”

Instead:

He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.

Life always brings hard times. It is a good idea to look for help to get us through them. Sometimes just talking with friends or family helps us get perspective and encouragement. Sometimes medication and counselling are needed. But there is one foundation, solid rock that we definitely do need, and that’s our relationship with God. 

“O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
    Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
    You have no equal.” (v. 5)

“I take joy in doing your will, my God,
    for your instructions are written on my heart.” (v. 8)

Keeping that conversation with God going throughout each day helps give us that steady, solid ground to face whatever comes.

Our song for today is Rescue by Lauren Daigle.

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