Our choir sings a song based on the third chapter of Psalms, one that was made popular by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The familiar lyrics begin:
Many are they increased that trouble me!
Many are they that rise up against me.
Many there be which say of my soul,
There is no help for him in God.
This first verse, Psalm 3:1–2, accurately describes a place many people find themselves in today. Troubles are mounting; the outlook seems grim; hope is fading. This is not just an irritation, but it’s a life-altering moment of impact.
We often see these stories played out onscreen and in literature. The protagonists are at a point where the walls are crashing in around them. You’re watching the film or reading the book, wondering how the situation will be resolved, and hoping that the hero will rise above it all. He’s got one bullet left or maybe he dropped an important key down a drainpipe or even physically beat down to near paralysis.
David himself was in the middle of a terrible situation, escaping the forces of his son, Absalom, who had declared himself king. In verse six, he even counts “tens of thousands” of enemy forces surrounding him. In this case, the word ‘many’ would be quite an understatement. This was a moment of little to no hope.
Not only have you assessed the situation as critical, outsiders are telling you that you are beyond hope. It could be the chronic poor-mouthers who always sound the sky-is-falling alarm, but sometimes even our most positive friends struggle for words of comfort. Beyond your relationships, there could be professionals, such as doctors or accountants who can’t see a way of escape, so they’re doing their part to prepare you for the inevitable.
Thankfully the passage and song don’t end there. The story isn’t finished. Complications and challenges are only the introduction to the solution. Enter the Person whose presence changes the entire situation:
But thou O Lord are a shield for me,
The glory and the lifter of my head.
I cried unto the Lord with my voice,
And he heard me out of his holy hill.
I laid me down and slept; I awaked;
For the Lord sustained me.
The chorus is the game changer. It’s the solution you never thought possible. It’s the option even farther back than “left field.” It’s like being 100 points behind in a pick-up neighborhood basketball game and the world’s greatest player steps in and joins your team. Observers, many of whom had written you and your situation off, are suddenly scratching their heads. When you called for help, you dialed the right number.
Remember that Jesus was the one you started this journey with. It’s a wonderful thing how He’s placed us in a community of believers and so many times, we draw strength and wise counsel from that. We have a responsibility to each other to pray and uplift and love one another. But our hope doesn’t ultimately rest in our human ability to figure things out.
The first verse is important, because it serves up the dilemma and stands as a reminder of the struggle you endured. Don’t linger there. Get to the best part. Turn the corner and run to safety. He is the glory and the lifter of your head. And He hears and sustains you.