I have a confession to make: when I was younger, I didn't care much for the Psalms or for King David. He came across like a "woe is me" kind of guy, and I thought his Psalms sounded like he was whining.
I wasn't terribly sympathetic, was I?
When I was growing up, we lived comfortably. My parents weren't wealthy, but my dad had a steady job, and he and Mom enjoyed a rock-solid marriage (they still do!). Certainly, there were hardships - my grandma developed a fatal brain tumor; one of my brothers ended up needing an emergency appendectomy; and my other brother underwent several surgeries when he was little. But compared to many people, I was blessed with an easy and ideal childhood.
When I was younger, I just couldn't relate to someone who had gone through the difficulties that King David experienced. Now that I've been through a few hallways in my adult life, though, I find so much solace and comfort in the Psalms and in reading through David's life. I have a much better understanding of the trials he experienced and why he wrote about them the way he did.
If anyone knew what it was to experience hardship and heartache, it was King David. He had marital problems. He had sin issues. He lost a child. His enemies were constantly attacking him. He was at odds with his grown son. He was wrongly accused. His best friend was killed in battle.
The Psalms he wrote show the wide range of emotions he experienced. But even the Psalms written at the depth of his despair end with, "I will choose to praise You, O my God." (See Psalms 56 and 142.) No matter what he went through in life, David chose to find his hope in the Lord.
No wonder he was considered to be "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22)!
We can read the Psalms to help us follow David's example of finding our hope, joy, and peace in God even when circumstances aren't what we wish they were. We can pray through the promises we find in the Psalms. And we can take comfort in knowing that God placed the Psalms in His Word as a means of comfort for us.
Today's action steps: Read the Psalms. You can read one a day or several in a sitting. It's up to you! As you read through, jot down the ones that impact you the most so that you can re-read them later on. I hope you'll develop a life-long love of the Psalms!