Daily Devotional: Psalms 129:1-8
They have greatly oppressed me from my youth — let Israel say — they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me. Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long. But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame. May they be like grass on the roof, which withers before it can grow; with it the reaper cannot fill his hands, nor the one who gathers fill his arms. May those who pass by not say, "The blessing of the Lord be upon you; we bless you in the name of the Lord."
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Life can be hard. The Psalmist laments over how much he has been mistreated and how others had made his life difficult. It does no good to deny the reality of things in our lives or to pretend that bad things haven’t happened to us. Being a realist can be hard in itself, but it goes a long way toward giving us peace of mind as we accept that which we cannot change. Pain is real. Our problems are real.
We choose how to deal with these things. We can wallow in self-pity, or we can focus on the blessings we enjoy and the good things that have been ours to enjoy. The more we dwell on the bad, the worse things will be for us. The more we think about the positive things, the good things, the blessings, the less we will think about all the bad things. By doing this, we will find a measure of peace and joy.
But it is not just positive thinking that can accomplish this. It is putting our trust in Jesus and knowing that he is near, and he is helping us through. As we trust him, we pray for wisdom to make better choices and to deal with the reality of our problems. It is God who is at work in us to will and to do his good pleasure. It is his Spirit who empowers us and gives us wisdom. Choose to trust in the Lord.
O Lord God, give me wisdom to deal with my problems. As you know, we all have physical pain at times, we have emotional issues with which to deal, we have relationship problems, and often financial reverses come our way. Give me faith to trust you, wisdom to rely on you, and strength to get through it all. Then, use me to help others as they go through the same or similar problems in their lives. Be with those whose problems are much worse than mine. Guide the elections in our nation so we can live quiet and peaceable lives. I pray in Jesus’ name.