Today’s verse from the Psalms was Psalm 143:7 —
Answer me quickly, O Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
At first, I was a little taken aback. Do we dare pray to God, “Answer me quickly”? What about all I said in the “Long-Term Visions” posting? What about all those verses about waiting on the Lord?
But look at the reason the Psalmist asks this — “My spirit fails.” We humans do have trouble with long-term visions, and long-term trials. Our spirits grow faint.
What comforted me about this is that God knows that we grow weary. He lets us ask him to hurry up. He knows that we are human. He knows that long-term difficulties are hard on us.
And the verse says nothing about how God will answer. In my own life, there have been several times when God answered my desperate cry quickly — not with a resolution of the problem, but still with an answer. Notably, when I asked him to please end this NOW, he began giving me verse after verse after verse that said, “Wait on the Lord.”
The psalmist also says, “Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.” This says to me, when my spirit is failing, that’s when I’m utterly desperate for God. If I still have Him, I can make it through.
And He will not hide His face when I am desperate for him.
In many ways, this Psalm tells the story of my marriage falling apart:
Verse 1– I asked God to please come to my relief. I was in trouble and desperately needed help.
Verse 2 — I felt horribly guilty for my part in hurting my marriage. But took such comfort that God does not remember our sins forever, that God forgives a repentant heart.
Verses 3 and 4 — I felt horribly depressed and crushed. Things got worse. I felt like I might as well be dead.
Verse 5 — I remembered all God had done for me in the past. I knew I could trust Him now.
Verse 6 — I spread out my hands to Him for help. My prayer times took on a whole new desperation.
The Psalm goes on, with the verse I began with. This trial is getting old — please help quickly, Lord! My spirit is failing.
Verse 8 is a wonderful answer:
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my hope in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Notice it’s not necessarily a solution to all his problems — the Psalmist is just asking for “word of your unfailing love,” a reminder that God’s love never, ever fails. Just something to lift that failing spirit.
Also direction. Encourage me, and show me what step I should take today.
The last verses of the Psalm ask for deliverance (for I hide myself in You) and guidance and ultimate victory.
From several different sources and in several different ways, people have been mentioning to me lately that these long-term trials are all about the big picture. Ultimately, what is God doing here? I can be sure that this story will ultimately be about His amazing and unfailing love.