Reading this psalm, I immediately remembered a time when I thought that I was so far from God, I didn’t know if He would ever take me back. Actually at the time, I thought God had left me, just like the psalmist states in vs. 7-9.
I eventually realized God had not left, and I hadn’t really left either. God was re-centering my faith and changing everything I thought I knew. It’s not that my faith before was wrong, it was very devoted and well-intentioned. But it was based on what I did, on checking off boxes that I thought God wanted me to check off. Over a few years, God showed me (and is still showing me) the difference between self-reliance and a faith that feels deeper, a faith which depends on Him by waking up each morning to His new mercies and realizing that He is always faithful, He is always near. The difference between the two perspectives for me was like the difference between standing on my feet with little struggle to balance and doing a handstand that requires constant attention and adjustment to stay balanced. Letting go of my check boxes was painful because I no longer had any answers, I needed to constantly pay attention to God and make adjustments in my heart to figure out what to do. For a time, I thought I was being a bad Christian. I knew many people I loved would consider me a bad Christian or not a Christian at all if I let go of those check boxes. I respect these people for their dedication and zeal to their beliefs. But my conscience would not let me follow the boxes anymore. I felt a need to repent from the black and white rules. Not because I decided to rebel, but because I kept having life experiences that did not fit inside the black and white lines. I slowly realized God was leading me out of the place where I stand on my own feet and into one that feels deeper for me. Maybe this place isn’t for everyone, but it is what I need and where I will stay, at least until God leads me to the next place.
While vs. 7-9 vividly bring back the pain in that experience, the rest of the psalm reminds me of the comfort God provided during that time and ever since. Starting in verse 10, “Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds…” No matter what place we’re in, we can always remember God’s works, whether it’s those recorded in the Bible or those from our own lives or the lives of others. We don’t need to have debates, try to sway people to our beliefs or try to get all the answers because God is mighty, faithful, just, loving and always here for us.