Have you ever been in anguish one moment and joy the next? That’s just the setting of Psalm 22. Verses 1-21 are a lament and verses 22-31 are thanksgiving from David. The Psalm begins with the verse Jesus quoted on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”. While it begins in suffering, it ends in praise! Shouldn’t that be our attitudes to suffering? David was suffering personally, but note this Psalm is about much more than personal struggles. It is a prophetic picture of Jesus who suffered for all. Just as David’s experiences were temporary suffering that led to giving thanks and joy, Jesus’ sorrow on the cross soon gave way to joy through the resurrection!
David calls out to God in deep desperation with feelings of abandonment, perhaps alienation. I’ve been there. I’ve been so uncertain of God’s activity and presence in situations that all I could do was call out to Him and ask why. Some would look down on this, seeing it as doubt. I say, better to call out to God with a continued hopeful why than a call out to Him in a defeated defiant woe. As low as David, and Jesus on the cross, had become, they never gave up on God. The proof is in talking with Him daily (v. 2) and asking Him to come near (v. 11). David even recalls how helpless he was in the womb and still the Creator provided (v.9)!
David ends the first section (vv.1-21) with a prayer (vv. 19-21). I’ve gone back and forth in my time of struggle with praying and worrying, praying and complaining, praying and whining. I’m thankful God answers prayer, but more thankful He’s patient as we pray. I think we have to complain out loud sometimes to hear how pathetic it sounds. A God who “has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy no turned his back on them and listened to their cries for help” (v. 24) is to be praised! We often lose sight of the God Who has always been because of the problems that are temporary. We must remember all He has done and will do! When we begin to complain, we must meet it with confidence! When we begin to whine, we must turn it to praise! Our fears must push us to faith in the One Who is always faithful! This doesn’t just change our perspective now, but for everyone around us – “the whole earth, families of the nations, our children and future generations” (vv. 27-31). If whining, complaining, and worrying are contagious, so is worship, praise, and thankfulness! We must not be people who stop at verse 21, but those who continue on through verse 31! Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
- Has whining, worrying, and complaining overtaken my countenance and words?
- Have I forgotten all the Lord has done?
- Am I stuck in verse 1 and 2?
Thank you Lord for not abandoning me in my trouble. Help me to cry out for you at all times, not just when I realize I am in need. I am in constant need of your presence and friendship. I need your grace at all times. Thank you for being patient with me and leading me back to your presence. I will praise you in the great assembly and fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you (Psalm 22:25).
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.