The need for resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800 273-8255), and the Crisis Text Line (text to 741741) hardly ever comes “out of the blue.” Click here to access a family discussion guide to help better equip your family to identify and share emotional experiences with each other. Another helpful learning resource is www.makeitok.org.
Psalm 31:9-12, 17-24
9 Have mercy on me, LORD, because I’m depressed.
My vision fails because of my grief,
as do my spirit and my body.
10 My life is consumed with sadness;
my years are consumed with groaning.
Strength fails me because of my suffering;[a]
my bones dry up.
11 I’m a joke to all my enemies,
still worse to my neighbors.
I scare my friends,
and whoever sees me in the street runs away!
12 I am forgotten, like I’m dead,
completely out of mind;
I am like a piece of pottery, destroyed.
17 LORD, don’t let me be put to shame
because I have cried out to you.
Let the wicked be put to shame;
let them be silenced in death’s domain!
18 Let their lying lips be shut up
whenever they speak arrogantly
against the righteous with pride and contempt!
19 How great is the goodness
that you’ve reserved for those who honor you,
that you commit to those who take refuge in you—
in the sight of everyone!
20 You hide them in the shelter of your wings,
safe from human scheming.
You conceal them in a shelter,
safe from accusing tongues.
21 Bless the LORD,
because he has wondrously revealed
his faithful love to me
when I was like a city under siege!
22 When I was panicked, I said,
“I’m cut off from your eyes!”
But you heard my request for mercy
when I cried out to you for help.
23 All you who are faithful, love the LORD!
The LORD protects those who are loyal,
but he pays the proud back to the fullest degree.
24 All you who wait for the LORD,
be strong and let your heart take courage.
Over 50 of the 150 psalms were “laments” like this one—Hebrew poems voicing some type of fear or sadness. This psalm included depression, limited vision, humiliation, anger at foes, and panic. None of those emotions are a reason to give up on life—they’re just part of being human.* The psalmist faced his awful feelings by staunchly trusting a God bigger than he was. (If you have time, read Psalm 107, noting the repeated idea that “God saved them from their desperate circumstances.”)
- In verse 17, the psalmist prayed, “Lord, don’t let me be put to shame.” What internal messages, perhaps under the pressure of external events or other people’s words, trigger your feelings of shame? How can you build an identity as God’s beloved child that can limit shame’s destructive effects on your life? (This is hard work and may require help from a trained counselor or spiritual director.)
- “When Pope John Paul II spoke at Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, he began and ended by quoting from this psalm. He commented, “We are overcome by the echo of the heart-rending laments of so many.” But we are not overwhelmed because we know that “evil will not have the last word. Out of the depths of pain and sorrow, the believer’s heart cries out: ‘I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”’”* What has helped you learn to trust that evil will not have the last word, that you can always trust in God’s love and concern?
Lord God, like the psalmist, I want your kind of honest strength. Teach and guide me in building my trust in you as I respond to your calling. Amen.
* For deeper study, see Christian counselor Dwight Carlson’s book Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?
** John Goldingay, Psalms for Everyone, Part 1: Psalms 1–72. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2013, p. 99.
Want more reflection on today's GPS?
Wendy Connelly, M.Div., is a podcaster (MoJoForMoms.com), motivational speaker and online entrepreneur whose ministry is to help women and moms become more confident, mentally-fit and joyful versions of themselves. She loves coaching clients, teaching classes and webinars about psychology and spirituality, and experiencing new adventures with her husband, Mark, and their two kids.