The Psalms reveal King David's highs and lows. They resonate with us because our lives are punctuated with question marks and exclamation points too. A profound element of the Psalms is the deep spiritual education David received after times of personal trial. Just knowing that the man after God's own heart could fall so low so often is a reminder of human limits. Like the rest of us, King David was flesh and bones, subject to pain, ailment, mystery, and temptation. Like us, he often allowed circumstances to define life. When challenged by doubt, fear, loneliness, or depression he would usually go deep. In the depths he would discover truth that lifted him above the trying conditions.
In moments of trial and test, he often wondered why God was hiding from him---
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from
me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the
day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13: 1-2, ESV
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Psalm 10: 1, ESV
Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
Psalm 44: 24, ESV
Evidently his human nature prevailed when circumstances turned toxic or harsh. There were moments of crisis when his broken spirit felt distant from God.
Thankfully, there was eternal truth to steady and balance David when life had taken difficult turns. Psalm 139 celebrates God's eternal presence even when circumstances are overwhelming. Verses 1-10 are compelling---
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I
rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying
down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay
your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot
attain it.7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take
the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your
hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139: 1-10, ESV
So, what is this human motion, the hidden God in one minute, the truth of the ever-present God in the next? It's a spiritual discipline the King confessed often as well, the truth that "...those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9: 10, ESV). When circumstances shifted his eyes downward, King David knew to look upward, to seek God.
I'm staring at the sea now. Life is often tossed like those currents and waves. But, even If I am hidden by them, he is there, even when I "dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea".