God made us with a built in need for connection and relationships. But we all have times when we feel all alone. If you’ve ever showed up to a party early and there was no one there that you knew, you know that feeling.
Things like the death of a loved one, a divorce, failing health, financial issues, marriage problems, parenting problems or being the subject of gossip — all lead to distress and can lead to feelings of loneliness.
Even positive things like getting a new job, moving to a new neighborhood, having a new baby, or joining a new Bible Study can make us vulnerable to feelings of loneliness.
No matter how many friends you may have or how many good things are happening externally in your life, loneliness is an internal feeling. And when loneliness settles in, we can feel confused and like God has turned his back on us.
Today we are going to take an in-depth look at Psalm 25:16-21. David was feeling lonely and so he said:
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
David said to God “Turn to me“. David is not only feeling lonely and afflicted but he feels like God has turned his back on him. It doesn’t get any worse than feeling like God has looked away and so he pleas with the Lord to turn toward him and be gracious to him.
Then David says:
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Sometimes when we get an injury, the area that is injured swells.
Have you ever had an emotional injury to your heart? I think we all have! It probably felt like your heart was swollen. And when your heart is swollen it hurts! It needs to be treated with tender loving care until it heals.
David’s heart was hurting and so he cried out to God to bring him out of his distress.
David said to God:
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
It’s interesting to note here that David is not complaining about his troubles, he is simply asking over and over for God to please look at them – turn toward him – he wants to be seen. Just a look from God would be enough.
But then David gets to the root of the some of his troubles –sin. Sin that is not forgiven can be more painful than the troubles we face . At times, there is a close connection between our sorrows and our sins, and in the midst of trials, we may be tempted to do things that are not good and right. And so David humbles himself and repents.
Repentance is so good for our swollen hearts.
So let me pause and ask…is there anything you need to repent of? Take a moment to reflect and do that.
After David repents he then says:
19 Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Again – David is saying – please look God! I have a ton of enemies.
Have you ever felt like you were outnumbered in a bad situation?
David did not just have one person he was fearful of, he said he had many foes and his foes hated him with a violent hatred.
So we add to David’s loneliness, affliction, swollen heart, distress, sins and troubles – enemies. Do you have an enemy?
Sometimes our enemies are obvious and they are aggressive but other times they are sneaky and are working harmful things against us, behind out back.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-48:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
What our enemies choose to do is out of our hands. Their hatred is from the devil but Jesus calls us to love our enemies. Love is always more powerful than hate because hate is destructive and leads to death but love is life giving to both the person giving the love and the enemy.
But even as we love our enemies – it is good and right that we cry out to God for refuge and deliverance from their hands. David writes:
20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
David begs God to come through so that he would not be put to shame or ridiculed. He knew his enemies would love to see David and his God look weak and so he wanted so badly for God to deliver him.
But God had not done that yet…
So David concludes:
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
Rather than retaliating and getting revenge on his enemies, David waits on God.
As he waits, he says there are two things that would be his preservation:
Are you waiting on the Lord?
May these two attributes be lived out in our lives as we wait on God to answer our prayers.
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
Uprightness is the quality of being honorable and honest.
These two qualities are safeguards. They protect us from needless harm. When we retaliate against an offense, we can end up in a worse spot than when we began. When we are honest and act honorably, we avoid much trouble.
Do you feel like God has turned his back on you today?
He has not!
God does see.
He has not turned his back on you.
It can be tempting to trust God in the good times and then when bad times come feel that he has abandoned us.
This reminds me of Habakkuk’s prayer in Habakkuk 3. Look at it below:
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Even though nothing was going right for Habakkuk – his crop, vines, fields and herds had failed him – he rejoiced in the Lord. He did not ignore his problems but he knew God was greater than the things he had lost and so he chose to praise God.
Do you need strength today for the trials you are facing?
If your strength is in your achievements, money, or relationships –they will fail you. Follow the example of David and Habakkuk and cry out to God. Tell him your feelings – list your troubles for him – – tell him all about it!
Know that God hears you and is your refuge and strength. Wait on the Lord and as you wait, live with integrity and uprightness and do the next right thing.
God loves you.