A Song of New Hope
As David's song—preserved for us as Psalm 13—reaches its climax, David's posture has changed once again.
David on His Feet
The first word in verse 5 is "but." That little word usually introduces a contrast to the reader. It's as if David is saying, "In contrast to my earlier complaints and fears, my dull eyes and proud heart . . . I have trusted! . . . My heart shall rejoice! . . . I will sing!"
Notice his exclamations of praise? What a delightful difference! This sounds more like the David we know, doesn't it? We dare not overlook the last part of the final verse: "Because He has dealt bountifully with me."
How significant! Read it again, then stop and think. David's circumstances had not changed. Saul still hunted him. The barren slopes of Judea were still barren. His hunger, if present before he wrote the psalm, continued to gnaw at his stomach. His outward circumstances had not changed, yet David's conclusions had spun a 180-degree turn from his original thoughts. Why? Because David had changed. God had "dealt bountifully" with him.
So, what does this mean for us? What encouragement can we draw from David's song? How can we emulate David and rise above our own sorrowful circumstances?
First, we must recognize that God uses trials to transform us, not our surroundings. God wishes to train us, to mold us. He uses the distressing circumstances brought on by evil to benefit us rather than destroy us. The evils intended by the world become His tools. In doing so, He deals bountifully with us . . . deep within where no one else can see or touch.
We have not learned the most basic and essential lessons God has designed for us in any given trial until we can say, "He has dealt bountifully with me."
In the magnificent Psalm 119, David declares this same conclusion in verses 71 and 75. In fact, he says such trials are good for us!
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes . . . .
I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
This is what the apostle Paul came to realize from his "thorn in the flesh" as he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Weakness is not a symptom of a terminal disease. It is simply tangible proof of our humanity. Better still, it is the platform upon which God does some of His most magnificent work. If the daily grind of despondency has begun to wrap its clammy fingers around you and drag you under, let me encourage you to get better acquainted with this unique song of new hope. It can be not only a comfort to your soul; very likely, it will lift you off your face and put you back on your feet.
God uses distress to transform US, not our surroundings—to benefit us rather than destroy us.
— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012).
Used with permission. All rights reserved worldwide.