A Deep, Dark Place

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From the LORD comes deliverance. Psalm 3:8 (NIV)

Decades ago, when the kids were still with us, we visited Indian Caverns. While I’d long grown out of my fear of the dark, my heart picked up pace and my breathing quickened as we toured the underground cave. It was dark. It was dank. It was scary, especially when the lights were extinguished so we could “see” and comprehend the deep, utter darkness—a darkness so profound I couldn’t see shapes, forms, or the hand in front of my face.

As I read Psalm 3 for my devotions this morning, I realized the writer, King David, was in a deep, dark place when he penned those words. His own son had betrayed him and usurped the throne. David had to flee for his life.

“How many are my foes!” he lamented. “How many rise up against me!”

I identified with his words. Not because I have foes (except one—see 1 Peter 5:8), but because I have woes. Because there are situations in my life that make me feel I’m “up agin it” with no way out.

You, too?

“How many are my woes!” we lament.

David didn’t wallow in his woes too long, if he wallowed at all. Because only two verses into this psalm, he’s turned the corner. He does this often in his writings—finds himself at the crossroads of Despair and Hope, and he chooses Hope—with one little word: “but” (other versions use “nevertheless”).

I call this “The ‘But’ Factor.” When in despair, factor in hope.

How? Let’s look at Psalm 3.

First, know that God is a shield around you (verse 3). Picture this. Nothing can touch you that doesn’t first go through Him, that He doesn’t allow. Everything that reaches you serves His purposes.

Second, know that when you cry to Him, He will answer (verse 4). Be sure of it. How do I know? Because He says so—right in His Word. He said it. I believe it. That settles it. God always keeps His promises. And because He has answered me in the past.

Third, you don’t have to stay up all night wrestling with worry. God’s got this: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me” (verse 5). Repeat this verse to yourself—quietly or aloud before you close your eyes for the night. Use it instead of counting sheep. (Who counts sheep, anyway? More likely we count our woes.)

Don’t let fear take control (v. 6). Over and over God’s Word tells us to “fear not,” “do not be afraid.” Fight that fear with your faith. Don’t have much faith, you say? Remember Peter. How much faith did it take for him to walk on the water? Just enough to take one step. (Actually, just enough to fling one hairy leg over the side of the boat.)

Fourth, pray specifically for deliverance from whatever it is that troubles you (v. 7). God may take away the trouble, smooth it out, provide a way out, or see you through it, giving you the peace and calm assurance that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

And finally, know that true deliverance comes from one source, and one source only: the LORD—El Shaddai, Adonai, El Roi (the God who sees), Jehovah Jireh (the LORD will provide).

Are you in a deep, dark place?

Remember, you’re not alone. God is with you.

Your deliverance, beloved child of God, is imminent and sure.

Thank you, Father, that even in the deep, dark places of life, You are there and You provide deliverance. Deliver me today from worry, fear, doubt, uncertainty, and indecision. Bring me into the Light of Your presence and love. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Psalm 3

OTHER SCRIPTURE TO READ: Psalm 46; John 1:1–5; John 8:12; Revelation 21:23, 25; 22:5

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