Daily D – Psalm 57:10
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. PSALM 57:10 (NLT)
One of my favorite quotes says, “If at first you don’t succeed, you are about average.” The first time we try something new is usually the worst time. We improve with practice. Developing skills to play a musical instrument or to compete in athletics requires repeated effort. Muscle memory requires many repetitions to become automatic. If there is one thing most athletes learn to loathe, it is hearing their coaches say, “One more time.”
We also tend to see what we are looking for. We train our minds with a particular worldview. Then we see what we expect everywhere we look. Some people see only problems. Others see only opportunities. This may not be as stark a difference as it is often portrayed. Instead, it may be alternate ways of assessing problems. There is more than one way to solve just about every problem. First, we have to be clear about the problem.
Let’s say Ol’ Billy Bob has added a few pounds during his COVID-19 sequestration. Before we jump in with a solution, let’s be clear: What’s the problem?
- Is Billy Bob lazy?
- Is he eating all the wrong stuff?
- Is he staying up too late and sleeping in every morning?
- Is he struggling emotionally in an increasingly unhealthy manner?
- Is his wife struggling and preparing meals that are comforting but also fattening?
If we do not correctly assess the problem, we cannot correctly repair it.
David Before He Was King had a problem. The king, King Saul, his father-in-law, was out to murder him. David was a warrior. He was a successful warrior. He was a better warrior than King Saul. What’s the problem here? Why not take him out and get on with the good life? Because Saul was anointed by God as king. While that anointing had been removed by God, David was not at liberty to remove Saul himself. God would have to do that.
David was stuck between a king prone to lash out irrationally and with deadly intent and a future he could see but not touch. David was living in the Land of Not Yet. Daily life had to feel like the Fire Swamp from The Princess Bride. There you never know when flames would erupt, the ground would give way underneath you, or giant rodents would drag you away.
David had a problem he could not solve. He had an issue he could only manage moment by moment and day by day. God alone could solve this problem. How did David survive his season of uncertainty? In v. 3, early in his song, he said, “My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.” The more he looked for God’s unfailing love and faithfulness, the more he saw it, the more he experienced it. He returns to this theme expansively in v. 10:
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
The bigger the problem became, the bigger David saw and experienced God. From v. 3 to v. 10, there is expansion. There is multiplication. There is exponential growth in understanding. David went from looking up at Saul to looking beyond him to God. As hateful and as unstable as Saul was, God was rock solid steady and dependable. The more David looked for God, the more he found him. The more he experienced him, the better he understood his true nature of unfailing love and unending faithfulness.
David’s problem was not avoiding his murderous father-in-law. David’s opportunity was developing a deep and abiding relationship with God. Every morning he arose before the sun not in dread, but in praise (v. 8). He led everyone to join him in praise and thanksgiving for how good God is (v. 9). His God-confidence grew with every passing day (v. 7). How could he not sing?
The more we see God for who he is, the greater our confidence grows (vv. 7, 10). This is true no matter the circumstances. For David, it was the fear of untimely death. For us, it is COVID-19 and its worldwide collateral damage. In both of these cases, and any other you can imagine, the more we see God for who he is, the greater our confidence grows.
I will exit this season with an expanded understanding of how good God is.
Our Father, you are bigger than all my problems lumped together. You are better than I can imagine. You are more loving and patient that I deserve. Empower us to reframe our thinking about the problems before us. Teach us how to look beyond them for evidence of your unfailing love and your enduring faithfulness. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)