How can I find blessing in the midst of despair? Psalm 3

Have you ever walked through a season of despair?

In the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, in the Fall of 2020, discouragement began to close in on me. There had been so many cancellations and endless disappointments piled high. My father, a nursing home resident, had been placed in Hospice care. For the first time in my life, none of my family in England, my father’s siblings, could come here nor could I travel there.

The heavy load of grief threatened to capsize my tiny boat.

A few days after he died, I felt desperate to be with my British family. However, none of that was possible. Regular visits to see my family in England were a fixture in my life. I had always had the option to go home. Now, none of this was possible.

I felt surrounded by sadness, grief, disappointment, and fear. Would I ever be able to see my extended family again? (As I write this now in 2022, it seems absurd but at the time, so much in my life felt uncertain. As my father’s only surviving child, I longed to sit with his siblings and share stories about his life.

About a week later, in the midst of grief, I found a video of a group of British singers performing a cover of “The Blessing.”  This song written by Kari Jobe (and others) struck a deep chord inside me.

The Lord bless you

And keep you

Make His face shine upon you

And be gracious to you

The Lord turn His

Face toward you

And give you peace

Amen, amen, amen

Amen, amen, amen

“The Blessing” by Kari Jobe, et al.

I must have watched and listened to this song on repeat for days. Different groups of people from all over the British Isles sang the different portions of the song. Hearing the variety of accents felt deeply meaningful as my own family of origin represents people from all over the UK.

There was a particular verse of this song in the middle that strengthened my weary heart

In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for you

The Blessing by Kari Jobe, et al

“He is for you.” This truth I needed to hear on repeat.

In Psalm 3 when I read about David being surrounded by his enemies, I picture him on the battlefield dodging an oncoming swarm of invaders. Somehow, they slip around the back forty and begin threatening him on every side. He cries out for rescue.

I am not, and was not, on a military battlefield.

Were David’s enemies found only on the battlefield?

The enemy of my soul would prefer me to believe David’s opposition was primarily military in nature, but time spent in the psalms reveals how David struggled with a variety of enemies. Enemies ambushing our hearts can be just as dangerous if not more so.

Fast forward to July of 2022. Perhaps a soul-tending check-up is in order today?

 As I examine my heart, what is troubling me?

In this season of my life, who are my enemies?

What strategies does the enemy of my soul use in my life?

  • The harsh voice of my own inner critic speaks loudly in the dark.
  • Temptations to take shortcuts, try quick fixes, and participate in gossip sneak up.
  • My own perceptions or snap judgments: this is not fair, they don’t like me, no one is giving me that opportunity provides a chorus of discouragement and dissatisfaction.
  • Challenges of daily life: missed calls, unexpected repair bills, medical diagnoses
  • Fear, anxiety, and endless uncertainty in a post-pandemic world.
  • Mushroomed misunderstandings start small and rapidly network out into a wall of offense built up brick by brick.

How about you?

When I feel surrounded, Psalm 3 can be a great prescriptive prayer to pray and check myself. A prayer like this can re-align my heart with God’s truth. I read each verse, hear God’s voice and respond in prayer.

1 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul. “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
(Psalm 3:1-2 ESV)

When I feel surrounded, it is far too easy to count the agents of opposition and lose sight of God’s abundant provision or even the precious gift of my salvation.

Lord, help me to turn to you when I feel surrounded.

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.
(Psalm 3:3-4 ESV)

Thank you, Heavenly Father, you hear me and you protect me. You can lift my head and allow me to gain the renewed perspective I don’t have without you. You can always see and hear me from your holy hill.

5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
(Psalm 3:5-6 ESV)

Lord, I can rest and sleep knowing that you are watching over me and protecting me. Even if a thousand come against me, You are always so much more.

7 Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
(Psalm 3:7 ESV)

Lord, thank you for doing battle for and in my place.  I don’t have to figure out how to fight because You do it for me and have such effective battle plans.

8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah
(Psalm 8:8 ESV)

Lord, you have given me the gift of salvation. You have put your blessing on me.

In the final two verses of the song, “The Blessing,” says,

May His presence go before you

And behind you, and beside you

All around you, and within you

He is with you, He is with you

In the morning, in the evening

In your coming, and your going

In your weeping, and rejoicing

He is for you

“The Blessing” by Kari Jobe, et al.

While I may feel surrounded by the enemy of my soul, I am actually surrounded by God’s presence all day and all night, wherever I might go. He goes before me, beside me, and behind me. For this truth, I give thanks today, to the Lord. Amen

One thought on “How can I find blessing in the midst of despair? Psalm 3

  1. What a great reminder. It is so easy to fall into the pit when it looks so dismal around us. The world seems so upside down. I love verse 5. Sometimes I just want to sleep it away but great to know that when I wake God is there. Just like he was when I went to sleep to escape.


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