Left for dead.
Life does that sometimes. Just completely out of the blue, you get that phone call. A relative in good health suddenly dies. A friend’s child is in an accident. Layoffs. Divorce. Cancer. Any number of things can take us out at the knees without any warning.
And we’re quickly reminded of how fragile and small we really are.
In Psalm 119:25-32, the author use two descriptive phrases to relate how he feels after life has knocked him down. First he says, my life is down in the dust. Other translations render his words as my soul clings to the dust or I collapse in the dirt. He feels so low that he can only relate to the trampled dirt on the ground. Secondly he says, I am weary from grief. Other translations relay the author’s meaning by stating my soul melts from heaviness and my soul weeps because of grief. We can relate to the psalmist because we’ve all had times when our hearts are so heavy that even our souls are shedding tears.
Our typical reactions to getting knocked down by life is to ask God “Why me?” or, if we’re feeling mature, we’ll ask “God, what are You trying to teach me in this?” However, the psalmist has neither of those responses.
As you read this section of Psalm 119, look for where the psalmist turns to when life has brought him down low:
My life is down in the dust; give me life through Your word.
I told You about my life, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes.
Help me understand the meaning of Your precepts so that I can meditate on Your wonders.
I am weary from grief; strengthen me through Your word.
Keep me from the way of deceit, and graciously give me Your instruction.
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set Your ordinances before me.
I cling to Your decrees; Lord, do not put me to shame.
I pursue the way of Your commands, for You broaden my understanding.
When life has him down in the dust to the point where he is weary from grief, the psalmist looks for life and strength though Your word. He’s not looking for an explanation or a life-lesson, rather he is looking for God himself, as revealed in Scripture.
It is noteworthy that when he asks God to help me understand, he’s not looking for the meaning of what knocked him down to the ground…instead he’s asking God to explain the meaning of Your precepts. Again, he’s not focused on how he got there or why he got there…he’s focusing on meeting God in the midst of it all.
When life has knocked him down, the psalmist implicitly trusts God with all aspects of the situation. And he seeks God through the Scriptures to reinforce his faith.
So should we.