Psalm 116-118

“Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living. I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” I said in my alarm, “All men are liars.”” (116:5-11)

This passage struck a chord in me. Trauma feels like drowning. As the psalmist describes previously, “cords of death entangling.” Your brain starts skipping like a broken record and panic rises like a flood of waters.

When I find myself in the midst of a traumatic situation, or something triggers my PTSD, I get really dramatic, shouting about how my life is marked by affliction and, yeah, maybe even screaming, all men are liars!” This reaction resonates in my recent history.

It’s hopeless! It’s too broken! The problem is too complex!

But then I do call out to the LORD, and He does in fact rescue me. It might take awhile to calm down though. I look around, maybe pat myself down and mutter, “you’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay.” Which is a little less eloquent than, “return to rest, O my soul, for the the LORD had dealt bountifully with you.” 

That sentence really nails it. In the weeks since returning from Greece, I feel that’s what I’ve been trying to do, but haven’t had the words. Now there they are, sitting in 116:7 like they always have.

“From my distress I called upon the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.”‬ (‭118:5‬)

He knows what I need when I call Him. He answers. His loving kindness is everlasting. Wow.

I’ve been a mess of reunions, small talk, reports, numbness, sobs, taxes, luggage, insurance, policies, meetings, rants, tears, laughter, political debates and long stretches of staring off into space.

I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay. Return to rest, O my soul…

When I stop and look at the LORD, I’m met with eyes that have seen all I’ve seen and more. How perfect that He is the God of all comfort. 

God isn’t some fancy, religious idea. He is everything. His Word isn’t a series of verse band-aids for life’s scratches. He is deeply, profoundly, the answer to everything. He created me and He sustains me. If He asks me to pour out my life for Muslims, refugees, the people He loves so desperately, than I’m certainly going to do that, and He certainly is going to rescue me when things get traumatic and dramatic. He’s not afraid of my screams and rants. He’s not afraid of my panic-stricken absolute statements.

He is there.

He is gracious.

He is righteous.

Yes, our God is compassionate.

He preserves me, the simple.

I shall walk before the LORD in the land of the living.


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