Psalm 57 - Kristin Schmucker - Mother's Day Collection Day 7
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
Have you ever had the words “why me?” come to mind. Why am I facing this sorrow? Why has this been so difficult? Why am I suffering when I love the Lord so much? Perhaps you have been there. I know that I certainly have. It has been five years since I lost my daughter Sophia. She was stillborn when I was 37 weeks pregnant. I have asked many questions through these years, but time and time again I have been comforted by our sovereign God.
In the days after we lost Sophia, the psalms were an indescribable comfort to me. There are so many that stand out in my memory, and Psalm 57 is one of them. This psalm catches my attention before it even starts. In the heading we learn that this is a psalm of David, God’s anointed one. And it was written from a cave while he fled for his life. A cave is an unlikely place to find God’s anointed, and I think maybe that is what first drew me to this psalm. Because grief and loss sometimes feels like a cave. It feels dark and lonely. It feels like you are far from where you should be, and certainly far from where you planned on being. And yet in the midst of the darkness and from the cave of sorrow, David lifts his gaze to the Lord. It is a reminder for us, don’t you think, to lift our gaze to God alone.
The psalmist cries out for God’s mercy, and he cries out for the refuge of his soul. He cries out for God’s love and mercy when all that is happening around him doesn’t make sense. I love the imagery that is used of the “shadow of your wings” in this passage. David finds refuge from the sorrows of life in the wings of God. This is a reference to the wings of the cherubim over the holy of holies and it is a sweet reminder that even our places of suffering can be transformed into places of worship in the presence of God. God’s presence transforms our deepest places of suffering and mourning into places of worship. His presence makes our suffering holy ground. Somehow, in ways that we cannot understand, God transforms us through suffering. He uses it to mold us and shape us into the image of Jesus.
I will never forget the room where I gave birth to Sophia. I can still picture every detail five years later. I remember the way the bed was positioned in the room. I remember the tiny hospital couch that my husband tried to sleep on. I remember that there were two screens that sat by the bed. One to monitor my contractions, and another to monitor a baby’s heart rate. I remember how the line on that screen was eerily flat as we waited to give birth to our stillborn daughter. But there is something else that I remember about that room. I remember the presence of God in my darkest hour. I remember singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” as we wept over our precious daughter before we had to give her up. I remember that God met me in suffering and comforted me through grief.
The temple of the Old Testament was a beautiful monument to the God of Israel, but when the first pages of the New Testament burst open, it is revealed that Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of that temple. He is the one that gives us access to God. And in the epistles, we even learn that as the people of God, we are being built up into the temple of God because we are united to Christ through the gospel of grace. Even in our suffering, the holy of holies is not far off. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. And He is with us in our sufferings. He has suffered before us, and He will walk with us through every moment of our sufferings.
Later in Psalm 57, David prays for God’s glory to cover the earth. It reminds me of the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 5, a prayer for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done. Sometimes His will being done and the thing that will bring Him glory takes us by surprise and is not what we would expect. Yet through it all, we have confidence that if we are children of God, He is with us. His will is always what is best for us even when we do not understand. We rest in His steadfast love and faithfulness. And instead of asking “why me?” we can be reminded that He is always with me.
If I was sitting with you for coffee today (and I wish I was), I would tell you that He will walk with you through joy and through sorrow. I would remind you of the hope that is found in the gospel. And I would cling to the truth that His presence is with His people even in the most unlikely places.
For His Glory,
Hi Friend, Ashlee here. Below is a song that I encourage you to listen to. I thought it would be a beautiful way to enter into worship as you begin your day and dwell on the Psalm above. Praying that you would feel the closeness and peace of the Lord as you walk forward today.