When a Psalm Is Not Your Situation

Because the Psalms are so personal, they often do not represent the mood or the situation we are in when we read them. For example, a couple mornings ago I read Psalm 142. It says,

There is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. (v. 4)

And,

I am brought very low! (v. 6)

I do not share this lament at this time. There are many who care for my soul. And I am not presently very low. I have known times more like this. But it is not true of me now.

So what should we do when we read psalms that do not represent our present experience?

  1. Realize that somewhere in the world there are Christians who right now are in this situation. Pray with them and for them.
  2. Realize that you will be in this situation sooner or later, and build this pattern of prayer into your life as preparation.
  3. Get to know God by the way the godly go to him and what they say to him and about him in such times.
  4. Give thanks for the relative peace and joy you have in this fragile season.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.