What if Christmas comes and your world has recently fallen apart? I try to remember that not everyone gets all excited and happy about this season. Illness, financial devastation, job layoffs, or personal disappointments come without regard to the calendar’s date. Despite rereading the Christmas story in Luke 2, your “inside your head” world lacks the joy, peace and love spoken of in this passage.
Since King David’s life spiraled out of control several times, his psalms often capture the angst of the heart. Reading Psalm 20 and Psalm 25 can provide a larger perspective on life, even in the midst of grave difficulties at this time of year. “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress, may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.” This opening verse meets my desire to be heard and protected. I sense that the God of the universe cares for me, knows my circumstances, and can offer me safety. The psalm continues with reminders of who the sovereign God is. By verse 7, the psalmist affirms his hope: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Psalm 25 reminds me of God’s reigning authority and my sinfulness. I have, when I assess the situation honestly, had a part in virtually any terrible situation. Even if someone has sinned against me, I may now harbor anger, or guilt that is wrong. I need to confess. Beginning with a biblically sound attitude, King David says, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O Lord, your grace and mercy and love for they are from of old.” Begin by acknowledging who God is and requesting His viewpoint. Add a dose of humility by reciting verse 9: ” He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Finally, the man after God’s own heart concludes, “Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me because my hope is in you.”
By reading these psalms several times a day, we massage the truths into our system. Remember that the Jews memorized Scripture. Reciting the psalms anchored people when the world around them fell apart. Today we snap up a sound bite and move on. But if the Word is to give birth to changes from the inside of us, ruminating on the words must occur in our minds and hearts throughout the day.