. . . malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me.
This phrase goes very well with the portion of the verse that precedes it. High expectations of us, as well. Sometimes, it feels like the whole world is against us. There are days when everyone’s expectations are more than we can handle, and the people we meet that day have needs that are so large and pressing that we want to hide. Perhaps you’re a waitress, and your customers all seem grumpy. Maybe you work in social services where there are many needs, but not enough staff or supplies to give help those who require assistance. You may suffer more than the usual demands of family life, juggling the needs of your children with lack of money. How do you handle things when you feel overwhelmed? Do you hide? Do you take out your frustrations on others?
Many people turn to alcohol or drugs, eat too much, lose sleep'”the list of self-abuse goes on. We may not know what to do, and we may feel we have nowhere to turn. We might fear that no one will understand us, or that there is no one there for us.
This can be a difficult time to pray. We want to do something to make the situation better. We want a magical cure to make the pain go away. Isn’t that what our culture recommends? To take a pill to make our pains vanish? Well, God is calling us toward something else; something that is so easy, yet so hard. It is a real paradox.
I believe God is calling us at times like this to connect with Him. When you are stressed, it is extremely hard to sit still and be with God. Consider writing a letter to God. Or, you may want to read a book that has helped you focus on God. You might want to listen to music or dance. You might even focus on an art project.
There is a line from the Bible that say something like our soul is restless until is rests with God. This is so true! I have found that, once I am able to calm down and connect with God, then I am able to see if I am stretching myself too thin, or saying “yes” to too many people. I sometimes have to say, “No.” Maybe I need to also take better care of myself, such as eat healthy, exercise, or get enough sleep.
After we do these things, then we can look ourselves and the world more clearly, and develop a plan that will not only help us, but probably help others who have these
But I believe I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
We can only see God by going out into the world and being with people and nature. We can learn to let the tree connect with us, rather than always trying to connect with the tree. We can let the ocean breath it’s mist on us. We are created to live life, not to hide our light under a bushel. We are to meet people with whom we might not feel comfortable, or with whom we might not normally associate. There are so many people to meet, and there is much wisdom to be gained from the experience. The writer of this Psalm seems very wise to me. Notice how the writer looks inside himself, first. He starts by saying that, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” By the end of the Psalm, the writer is stating that we are ready to go out in the world and enjoy it!
We have discussed how God is the light within us; how God is always available and understands us; how He will help us in times of trouble; how our soul longs to follow God, and how we might know if we are following Him. We’ve learned that, sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. We have also learned how to forgive one another and why that is important.
It may take us time to focus on each of these individual things, and, in fact, we may need to repeat these lessons many times. These are not actions we do once, without need to do them again. It is a daily and continuous process. We may reach the point where we feel we are able to go into the world and bring God’s love to others, but then one hour after the day starts, someone may hurt our feelings. Then, we must go back to the point of dealing with our hurt.
The positive point is that, each time we follow these suggestions, we become stronger and more aware of ourselves and others. We aren’t as afraid and sensitive to other people’s comments or the stresses of the world.