There is a jeweled treasure box full of the richest of human emotion found within the Book of Psalms in the Bible. Most of these treasures are penned by David, but all of them were breathed by the Holy Spirit of God into the pens of the men who inscribed them to paper. And while God never intended the pages of His Word to be used only in case of emergency, He certainly included every answer to every need within those pages. One chapter in particular has been a personal treasure to me. If you don’t write in your Bible, please forgive me for this, but I have written next to the words below, “The Panic Chapter.”
Give ear to my prayer, O God;
and hide not thyself from my supplication.
Attend unto me, and hear me:
I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked:
for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.
My heart is sore pained within me:
and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me,
and horror hath overwhelmed me.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove!
for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Terror, Fearfulness, Trembling, Horror, Overwhelmed…. Psalm 55 leaves no panicked emotion out. David’s words were most likely written when his son Absalom stormed Jerusalem and took over David’s throne. One of David’s longest and dearest friends, Ahithophel, became Absalom’s counselor. David’s anguish over this treason is overwhelming and very real. He draws the reader into the depths of his pain as he cries out to God. He takes all of his raw emotions to the One who made them, who understands them, and who one day far in the future, would in His human lifetime, experience all of them Himself. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge cross references Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane to the fifth verse of Psalm 55.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:44 http://tsk-online.com/TSK/Psalms/55/5
In our deepest struggles, and in our rawest emotions, God hears, He sees, He knows. When we take our tangled, confused, overwhelmed feelings to the God who created us, He knows us better than we could even begin to know ourselves.
Spurgeon writes of Psalm 55:2 (Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise…) Groanings that cannot be uttered, are often prayers which cannot be refused.” Even when we cannot fully comprehend our own fears, sorrows, longings, pain, and anguish, He can make sense of our lack of words. His Spirit communes on our behalf, and brings our speechless petitions to His throne.
As David pours out his heart to the Lord, his emotions of panic soon turn to purposeful prayer in verses 16-17. And before he sees a resolution, God’s peace takes over the internal battle of his heart.
As for me, I will call upon God;
and the Lord shall save me.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud:
and he shall hear my voice.
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me:
for there were many with me.
It is no coincidence that David ends this chapter with his decision to trust in God’s sovereignty and judgment of evil. Panic is overcome in David’s heart by his choice to focus his thoughts and emotions onto the unchanging, stabilizing God that he knows well. He chooses to place the circumstances soundly at God’s feet to work through as He sees fit.
v. 22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:
he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
There is peace for the battle-worn and overwhelmed. These burdens of fear and sorrow need not be carried on our own, but placed firmly at the feet of the One who draws near to us in our needy complaints. These burdens are often the very things that He uses to draw us to Him.
Here are a few more of my favorite Scriptures to refocus and redirect the overwhelmed emotions that stir to life every now and again:
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever:
for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:
Fear thou not; for I am with thee:
be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee;
yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
What are some of your favorite verses?