Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
This is a hard, hard verse and Psalm to read and study. I prefer to think of my Lord as the one that restores me and comforts me in times of trouble. I don’t like to consider the fact that in his sovereignty, he put me in those times of trouble to begin with (or at least allowed me to fall into them).
That doesn’t reconcile with any Earthly thing I can think of. My father here on Earth hurt me from time to time by making mistakes or by neglect, but he never purposely put me in harms way. So why would my father in Heaven do so?
To understand that, I think I have to ponder another unique aspect of God, which is omniscience. He knows all and sees all, so he knows that he can’t put me in trouble that I can’t handle. He knows that if he sends me into a burning house, he’s going to be able to pull me back out before I become a crispy critter (but not before I inhale a good deal of smoke and get singed a few times).
But even if he can pull me out in time, why send me in at all? Why put me through that? Well, once again scanning God’s character, I have to understand that he’s loving. He wouldn’t do anything to me that wasn’t ultimately for my own good – or at least the greater good. I don’t think of God as a puppet master per-se, but I don’t think it is much of a stretch to call him the ultimate director and producer of this movie we call life. So he must have a larger purpose for the hard, hard times in my life. There’s a story arch being played out that will all make sense someday (if not here, then in Heaven).
And you know what? If I’m being honest, that doesn’t really make me feel all that much better.
When you are in pain, you don’t want to hear about how you are going to be stronger because of it. You don’t want to hear about how much you’ve learned through your ordeal. You just want to feel better. You just want to be comforted. Which is why this Psalm starts out with “Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me.”
So rescue me Lord, from the pain I feel. Rescue me from the pain you’ve put me through. Rescue me from the pain I’ve put myself through because of my own sin. Rescue me from other people. Rescue me from the hurt. I will endure it for your sake and I will try to learn what you are teaching me, but please rescue me. Like David I will praise you for your faithfulness. I will sing with joy and lift up your name.