Saturday, November 27, 2010

In The Ring

I was up early this morning. Not that I wanted to be, but sometimes a routine is hard to break and by 6:00 am I was laying there wide awake. I seem to process best in the mornings though, so maybe it’s a good thing I was up and turning to Psalm 143 because it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I’ve been weighed down by life circumstances the past few weeks. Not unlike a prize fighter who is in the ring with someone far bigger and more experienced, I feel like I’ve been taking a beating. The busyness of the school year, the tremendous stress of a company acquisition, the overwhelming responsibility of being a single parent, and other smaller incidental issues have weighed in and left me feeling like a boxer nearing the end of a long fight. I am still standing, but focusing has been difficult and the realization is that I could go down if the right punch is thrown.

David expressed it perfectly in Psalm 143.
1 O LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.

2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.

3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.

4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.

5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.

6 I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.

10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.

12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

It feels as though David wrote this Psalm for me. I have felt so many of the same emotions that he describes here: faint, pursued, and even dismayed. I am constantly amazed at how often God speaks directly to my battered heart through his Word. Not only did I stumble across this Psalm on just the right morning, but He has been showering me with other blessings that I couldn’t ignore. In the midst of the sadness I’ve felt, God has kept showing me mercy upon mercy – someone would give me a gift I needed, I’d get to have a great talk with a Godly friend or I’d open to the exact verses that spoke to my situation.

I’m not at the end of this particular fight. I’ve got several rounds to go in this match. But I am so thankful that David understood the feeling of being pursued and dogged and that he gave me an example of how to turn to God. Desperate to persevere during a time when I’ve been experiencing punch after punch, I made the decision to do two things: spend more time with the Lord in the mornings and to continue to initiate with wise and spiritual friends who help me stay grounded in reality and God’s truth. For now I will focus on verse 8, which says:

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

I may get bloodied and beaten, but with the Lord I will walk out of the ring a winner in this fight and in every other struggle I encounter.