This devotional was penned by Youseff. Read Psalm 120-125
It seems like there is a common theme running through the psalms of today’s reading. It’s clear how uplifting and encouraging it is to read these chapters. But there are even deeper similarities which could be found while contemplating the verses of these psalms. We can feel while reading some of the chapters that the writers were under some sort of emotional stress while composing their psalms. They felt suffering and pain (120:5), endured the contempt of their enemies (123:3,4) and the crooked ways of the evil people (125:5).
What do we usually do when we find ourselves in similar situations? When we feel the injustice and discrimination at work? When we receive cruelty and betrayal from people instead of kindness and compassion? When our hearts suffer from insecurity and our worlds shake from the imminent danger?
We tend to have different coping responses to the negative emotions and stressful situations we face every day. Sometimes we turn to food for comfort (one of my common reactions). We might turn away from people or distract ourselves by excessive social engagement. We can try to prove our worth by overworking or seek the illusion of accomplishment by supporting a sports team or playing video games.
These chapters teach us a different way to respond to the life stress and world injustice. The psalmists “took their troubles to the Lord and cried out to him” (120:1), “lifting their eyes to God” ( 123:1) “looking to him for his mercy” (123:2). They realised that “their help comes from the Lord who made the heaven and earth” (121:2).
We sometimes live our days “blind” to the fact that God is passionately seeking a close relationship with us. We walk in our life unaware of the unlimited love that can warm our hearts in the coldness of this world, only to find ourselves facing the evil of life on our own. Seeking the Lord in difficult times can deeply change our perspective to a different reality. Exposing our life to God’s presence can change the insecurity to peace when we realise that “he will not let us stumble”(121:3) and that “he is standing beside us as our protective shade” (121:5). We will find our heavy burden transforming into a jubilant sense of deliverance when we recognise that “the trap is broken and we are free!” (124:7). The self-pity will fade away in front of revelation of his love when find that “the Lord keeps watch over us as we come and go, both now and forever” (121:8).
We live in a cruel world, surrounded by evil and wickedness. But as followers of God, we have the opportunity to walk in life holding his hand, hiding in his unfailing love and enjoying the incomparable relationship with him.