I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. 6 The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. 7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; 9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. 10 I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted”; 11 I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.”PSALM 116:1-11
RETURN, O MY SOUL, TO YOUR REST
I’ve had a few close calls in my life. I had open heart surgery to replace a heart valve. I had Covid-Pneumonia and helplessly languished in a hospital room for a week watching my need for oxygen go up and up. Those skin of the teeth moments are scary. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know the next step. You don’t know how it will all turn out. Peace is elusive because of the unknowns of it all.
The psalmist who wrote this Psalm had faced his own mortality. He was near death at a certain point in his life and yet God spared his life (see v. 3 and 8). He said some things in the middle of his frustration, including accusing everyone around him of lying (see v. 11). Yet even in the midst of his anxieties about seeing his life pass away before his eyes, he trusted in the Lord (see v.10). Where else can we really go when we face the anxieties of our own mortality?
This Psalm is a Psalm of rejoicing and celebrating God’s deliverance. The psalmist also soberly notes in verse 15 that, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Not knowing what will happen can by scary, but knowing that God is in control can bring us to a place of rest. There is grace in knowing that even when we are out of control and our emotions run high that God is in control.
I spoke with a friend this last week about reading and reflecting on the Psalms in my devotional life. I’ve felt like I’ve always been well grounded in God’s word, but I sense that one of the best things I have ever done for my mental health is to read through the Psalms in a systematic way. God uses the Psalms to walk us through a range of emotions and circumstances to show us how we can trust in Him and navigate life.
Father, Thank you for your word in the Psalms today. I am grateful for your grace and your sovereignty. There is peace to be found resting in you. In all of life’s moments we can rest in the satisfaction of knowing that you are in control. I am grateful and I rejoice for how I have seen your salvation in my own life from a virus and a bad valve, but even so from my own sin. I am grateful that you stoop low to hear our prayers and we can come to you through Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.