Stop Whining Already!

Today’s scripture: Psalm 56 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Jeff Miner):

When I read through the Psalms, I often find myself thinking, “Stop whining already! Ok, so your life is tough. Welcome to planet earth!” But then I have to stop and remember the difference between my life experience and that of David, the author of this Psalm.

I have the privilege of living in a time and place where my life has never been threatened. I’ve never had to worry that someone will kidnap me and haul me off to some secret location. I’ve never had to worry that an army might appear on the horizon tomorrow morning, ready to wipe out everyone I love.

By contrast, David lived under constant threat. As best we can tell, he wrote the words of this passage when the ruler of his nation (King Saul) became jealous of David’s popularity and decided to kill him. David fled to a neighboring nation of Gath. But instead of providing sanctuary, the King of Gath held David captive (I Samuel 21:10-15). It’s the kind of intrigue and double crossing you might see on a show like “The Blacklist.” To escape, David had to pretend to be out of his mind. “He scratched marks on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle run down his beard (I Samuel 21:13).” Once the King of Gath concluded David was mad and lost interest, David was able to flee into the wilderness and live in a cave.

Ok, I guess David had earned the right to whine a little — and even to yield to the temptation to want vengeance on his enemies (Psalm 56:7).

But what strikes me is the resilience of David’s spirit even amidst all the loss and chaos. How did he keep himself together during such stress? Verse 8: “You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle.” What a powerful poetic image!  Even when David didn’t understand why he was suffering, he sensed (by faith) that God cared enough to capture each tear in a bottle. In other words, each tear was so precious, so eternally significant, that God captured it to preserve it, as if to say, “Your suffering will not be forgotten.”

Because of this, David is able to confess in Verse 9: “This I know, that God is for me.” And I can face anything — even life’s worst tragedies — as long as I know that God is for me.

Thought For The Day: As you go about your life today, repeat that affirmation to yourself several times: “I know that God is for me.”

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.