Reading: Psalm 69
But as for me, afflicted and in pain—
may your salvation, God, protect me.
I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
The poor will see and be glad—
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
The LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that move in them,
for God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
the children of his servants will inherit it,
and those who love his name will dwell there (NIV).
The word ‘despite’ does not appear in this final reading from Psalm 69, but despite its absence it’s at the core of what David is saying here.
O Christmas Tree, Orleans, ON — photo by David Kitz
But as for me, afflicted and in pain—may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Despite affliction and pain David resolves to praise God and give Him thanks. David decides to rise above his circumstances. He does not give into his troubles and sorrows. He does not yield to the complaints of his body. Not by the flesh, but in the Spirit, he rises above his afflictions.
Often I would rather wallow in my difficulties and coddle my discomforts. But the LORD calls us to live on a higher plane. It takes praise, thanksgiving and a song in our heart to lift us to that higher level. But before the song comes and the praise begins to flow, we determine our response. We must decide. We have a ‘but-as-for-me’ moment.
Despite opposition from our flesh, despite the doubts and misgivings of our peers, we determine that God is worthy of our praise. He is the God of the afflicted—not just the God of the feel-good set—so let the thanksgiving begin and praise burst forth.
Often God sees our heart and He intervenes and our situation changes. But if not, He is still worthy of wholehearted praise. Take time to praise and thank Him now.
Response: LORD God, in my difficulties I praise you. This pain-prone human flesh praises you. Thank you for this life you have given me. Your goodness and mercy never end. Amen.
Your Turn: During the Advent and Christmas season does praise comes easily? Is praise difficult for you at times?