by Kevin Hazlett

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock thatis higher than I. –Psalm 61:1-2

Bible scholars tell us that David had just been banished from his throne by his own son, Absalom, prior to writing this well-loved psalm. This is David, the giant-killer. This is David, who as a young military commander killed his tens of thousands, compared to King Saul, who only killed his thousands. This same David had brought stability and prosperity to the kingdom such as they had never known.

Yet he now finds himself in a place he thought he had left behind. He thought his days as a vagabond were over. As king, surely the time for escaping for his life were a thing of the past. After all, it was God Himself who placed David on the throne. It’s interesting to note that he was not in this dire circumstance as a direct result of his own sin. In fact, it was the sin of someone he loved dearly, his own son, that had spilled over into his life. His own son who he loved and cared for utterly betrayed him, turning the hearts of his own people against him.

Do you find yourself not just sympathizing, but empathizing, with David? Has someone you cared for deeply let you down or betrayed you in a big way? Have you been in times where you thought everything was going well, when suddenly the rug was ripped out from under you? I don’t know what it is you are struggling with, but we are all carrying burdens we never thought we’d be asked to carry.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wallow in despair. Thankfully, we serve the same God David did, and we can call out to Him in times of trouble like he did. Let’s break down these verses, and we will see that there is a Place we can go- and it is found in a Person.

Hear my cry, O God; In David’s time of heart-break, he went straight to the immoveable, unchangeable One! He knew Who to cry to!

…attend unto my prayer. David was not content to pour his heart out to God; he was looking for and expecting a response (Psalm 40:1). How comforting to know that God hears the desperate prayers of His saints.

From the end of the earth… David was no longer praying from the comfort of his palace. He found himself pleading from the confines of the pit! This is a reminder that there is no unsuitable place to pray. God hears us right where we are, no matter where that happens to be.

…will I cry unto thee… This was the wise choice, because when we cease to pray, we concede defeat to our despair. There are many people whose lives have been wrecked and their Christian growth stunted by bitterness and resentment, all because they stopped praying.

…when my heart is overwhelmed This was not an “if” proposition. David didn’t say, “If by chance something comes upon me that is greater than I can handle, would you mind being there to help me out? David had been around long enough to know that those times are coming; it was simply a matter of “when.” Yet we must not forget that faith’s greatest triumphs are achieved in our heaviest trials.

The word “overwhelmed” implies the idea of a ship tossed in the ocean that begins taking on water. The troubles outside us begin to make their way inside, and we begin to feel like we’re drowning. For many, church is a place where we put on our best outfit, our best face and attitude, and pretend everything is just great. Yet if we were all honest enough to remove the façade, it would reveal many hearts that are drowning! Their marriages, their kids, their finances, and their faith are on the verge of shipwreck. In times like these, we need help that extends beyond our own strength.

Lead me to the rock…David definitely had a specific place in mind. He was trapped in the mire of his circumstances, and the endless thoughts of “what-if’s.” He knew that climbing out on his own would be hopeless. The way was too slick, the walls too high. He knew he needed a place of sure footing.

David surely had a place in mind, but I also believe he had a Person in mind. When my heart is overwhelmed, I must ask God to lead me into the presence of my Saviour Jesus Christ. There is joy and peace in His presence!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One,
This Rock is Jesus, the only One;
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock
!

Where Jesus is, there is healing. Where Jesus is, chains of sin are broken. Where Jesus is, strongholds are cast down. David knew and we must understand that the key to lifted burdens lies in the existence of the presence of Jesus Christ.

…that is higher than I. David was in a low place. He knew where he needed to go, and that was up! Yet how can we can move up for Him? God tells us His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. He has a higher calling for our lives. He doesn’t desire for us to wallow in self-pity, living out our lives as a victim of circumstances. He calls us to rise above, to live victoriously, to by faith overcome.

It has been said that you’re either just coming out of a valley, are in one, or have one coming soon. When those times arise, we need to be ready to call out to the One Who can do something about it. In troubled times, ask God to lead us to the Rock.