Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. - Psalm 4:1
Read Psalm 4
The gossip behind closed doors, the untrue slander, the rumors spread like wildfire and then it reaches you. Shock leaves you speechless, but then the hurt hits your stomach like a bomb. Hunger for justice begins to take root as anger arrives to your tongue. This isn’t right. None of it is true. Why did this happen? God, where are You?
Life is not absent of hurt, hurt that so often leads to emotions. Negative emotions. The type of emotions so many of us try to avoid, but when we look at the Psalms of David, we don’t see a man of God that’s happy all the time. In fact, we see a man who the world might even have said was dealt a bad hand of cards. A man who seems a bit troubled. We see a man who lays it all out there. He claims his hurt and the source of his pain. He calls out his feelings and the people who are causing them to occur. He talks to God as if God cares about the things (all the things) he cares about.
In Psalm 4 we see a man so hurt by people. By the world. By his reality.
David was anointed to be king as a young boy and he spends a good amount of his early adulthood running from his enemies and hiding out in caves as he awaits what he knows, in God’s timing, will eventually come. For, He knew God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
But how much longer? This is the question David desperately cries out.
How long, God? A question we too so often come to in desperation.
But do we stand as firm as David does in knowing God hears our prayers, our desperate cries? Do we share that same assurance as David does when He says, “The Lord will answer when I call to Him” (verse 3)?
Oftentimes, I find myself so unsure of whether God is really hearing me in my desperate moments. I know the truth of His words. I know His Word says He leans in and listens (Psalm 116:2). Yet, the world creeps in, the burden gets so heavy, and I feel unseen by the God who I know sees me! It’s a lie and I am fully aware of it, but even in my moment of believing that lie, of not standing firm in God’s truths, He still hears me. He still hears you. He still leans in to listen and holds us in our desperate moments. God’s character doesn’t change based on our behavior. He is who He says He is, period.
And isn’t that good news?
As we continue on in Psalm 4, we get to a part where David gives himself a little pep talk. Yes, David takes a moment and talks to himself. He’s so angry about his current circumstances and he knows that anger, even justified anger, can lead to sinful behavior. So he reminds himself to not let the anger take over. To take a night and sleep on it all. To continue to do good, even though He feels awful, and to trust the Lord.
He knows the answers to all his problems are with God and he knows God’s got it all covered. He ends this Psalm telling God that he can sleep knowing his burdens have been fully released to God. God’s going to work it all out for good, for His glory, and David can sleep freely and lightly.
And so can we. We can lay our burdens down. We can be raw with God. Honest. We can tell Him our hurts. We can put it all out there. We can be a blubbering mess. He can take it and He wants to take it. He wants us to give all of our burdens to Him so we can sleep in peace knowing our Lord will keep us safe (verse 8). Knowing the Lord is using it all for His glory and His purposes.
What is keeping you up at night?
What is making you angry these days?
Have you released it all over to God? Why or why not?
Take a moment to write or say a prayer to God. Release it all to Him, even if it’s messy! Lay your burdens down.