“You can’t ‘feel’ your way into a new way of acting, but you can ‘act’ your way into a new way of feeling.”[i] —Bruce Norman
Today’s Verse: “[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13–14 AMP)
Psalm 27 portrays David as a man of sorrow and a man of confident assurance. He wrote the psalm just after hearing about Absalom’s death and his army’s victory in the battle (2 Samuel 18 and 19). On one hand, David is well pleased because he is still king. On the other hand, he’s heartbroken because his son was killed in the battle. We can see both sides of David’s mind and heart in his writing.
Throughout the psalm David is trying to bring both worlds together. He’s saying, “I, the sufferer, the man who is feeling pain and deep loss, depressed beyond any limit, am the same man who trusts, is safe, and sits in the presence of the Lord.”
David is a model and a challenge for us. He does not hide or run away from his sorrow and grief, and yet he’s living within the framework of solid faith.
How does David do this? He sees and deeply knows God’s goodness. He chooses to find the good that came, not from without, but from the faith within his heart. He also chooses to live expectantly of the Lord’s goodness. While his pain is deep, so is his belief in God’s faithfulness to him, in spite of the circumstances he’s living in or the emotions he’s feeling. He knows God’s promises are real and good.
David knew that joy didn’t come from circumstances. While he lovingly grieves, he also lovingly reaches out to God with trust and expectation of His goodness. That was the deep taproot of his joy.
We often struggle with ourselves (our emotions, thoughts, circumstances) and with our faith (believing, expecting, trusting). David was in the same place, and like him, we can actively approach both sides of the struggle with a stout heart that is wrapped in God’s goodness and chooses to wait, hope, and expect faithfulness from the Lord.
INSIGHT: Like David, we need to choose to see God’s goodness regardless of our circumstances. We cannot let ourselves be defeated; instead, we need to rely on and expect His goodness.
PRAYER: Read Psalm 27 as a prayer back to God. If it makes it more personal, substitute your name for “I” and “my.” Ask God to help you see His goodness in all things and in spite of all the things you’re feeling or experiencing. Thank Him that with Him you have no need to fear or dread what lies ahead and that He is willing to keep you in His shelter.
This post came from my latest book, The Way Back From Loss
[i] Bruce Norman, Principal of Magnet High School for Health Professions in Dallas, TX, quoted by Zig Ziglar, See You at theTop, (New York, Pelican Publishing Co., 1975, 1977, 2000, 2003, 2005), 239.