A Time to Listen, a Time to Talk
Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.”
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
~ Psalm 3:1-3
Psalm 3 is a psalm of David, and one of its purposes is to teach us how to give voice to our tribulations. In the first two verses, he is — probably very realistically — dealing with all of the enemies he had in his life. He was at war with almost everyone, at some point! But when we see how he handled all of his problems, we see that we can be honest with God about our troubles.
Right away, in verse three, he show us that, although we may be right in the middle of our suffering, we can rely on God. His enemies, in fact, specifically say that there is “no help for him in God,” but David, God's anointed and holy king, knew better! His psalm is actually testimony from 3,000 years ago; David is witnessing to us. And we know, from history, that he was right, for he succeeded where generations had failed, in uniting Israel.
This points up a subtle difference, between talking to yourself and listening to yourself. If you listen to yourself, you are going to hear all of the self-defeating and sinful ideas that come from your earthly mind. But we are not passive victims of our psyche. We learn truths from Scripture that defeat the lies that we will hear, if we only listen to our brain. Our subconscious mind can be our enemy and rise up against us, like David's foes; but God is a shield for us and will lift up our head.
Lord, let me use your words to talk to myself, when sinful and self-defeating thoughts arise to harm me. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer