When I am in distress, I turn to Psalms. (“Palms,” as my friend Valerie persists in saying.) David and the others who wrote Psalms had all the ups and downs that we have today.
Feeling vengeful? You can find a Psalm to relate to.
4 May those who seek my life
be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back in dismay.
5 May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away;
6 may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
7 Since they hid their net for me without cause
and without cause dug a pit for me,
8 may ruin overtake them by surprise—
may the net they hid entangle them,
may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. (Psalm 35:4-8)
Feeling depressed? Plenty of Psalms express your feelings.
6 I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes. (Psalm 6:6-7)
Discouraged? So was David—often, and with good reason.
1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who vindicates me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me—
God sends forth his love and his faithfulness. (Psalm 57:1-3)
Repentant? All of Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance and seeking forgiveness, and verses 10-12 offer a direct prayer for any time.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:10-12)
Joyful? Not all is gloom and doom; joy abounds in many Psalms, often in the same Psalms as those just mentioned.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs. (Psalm 100:1-2)
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them. (Psalm 126:5-6)
Feeling blessed? This is the verse I focused on as we prepared for our daughter’s wedding.
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:3)
Wanting comfort and reassurance? Psalm 121 was my mother’s favorite.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Now turn to the Psalms and find your own favorite verses of help and encouragement. Reading them is good, but memorizing your favorites is even better!
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105, NKJV)