Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. Psalm 143:11
“I had a dark moment.” Those five words capture the internal agony of a popular female celebrity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjusting to a new normal was part of her challenge, and in her turmoil, she acknowledged that she wrestled with thoughts of suicide. Pulling out of the downward spiral included sharing her struggle with a friend who cared.
We’re all susceptible to tumultuous hours, days, and seasons. Valleys and hard places aren’t foreign but getting out of such places can be challenging. And seeking the assistance of mental health professionals is sometimes needed.
In Psalm 143, we hear and are instructed by David’s prayer during one of the dark times of his life. The exact situation is unknown, but his prayers to God are honest and hope-filled. “The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed” (vv. 3–4). For believers in Jesus, it’s not enough to acknowledge what’s going on within us to ourselves, to our friends, or to medical specialists. We must earnestly come to God (thoughts and all) with prayers that include the earnest petitions found in Psalm 143:7–10. Our dark moments can also be times for deep prayers—seeking the light and life only God can bring.
In the midst of your darkest moments, how do you typically respond? Why is it difficult to be honest about your struggles?
Father, please renew my strength and hope in You. When dark moments invade my life internally or externally and bring me low, help me to come to You in prayer.
Some reputable scholars theorize that Psalm 143 was written during David’s flight from his son Absalom, who with a large rebel force tried to seize his father’s throne. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s clear from the psalm that David felt badly threatened by a deadly foe (vv. 3, 7, 9). And it’s interesting that David asked God to “silence [his] enemies” (v. 12). What were they saying about him? If these enemies were in fact Israelites taking part in a civil war against him, they surely remembered his many sins, including the very public affair with Bathsheba—fodder for malicious gossip and motivation to conspire against the king. This would provide fresh insight into David’s words, “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you” (v. 2).