Read Psalm 27
Psalm 27 is a song of perseverance and hope, a rallying cry against the darkness and fear that creeps up, real or imagined, in our everyday lives. It’s a declaration in the face of trauma and crisis—even if you win, you won’t really win, because the Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?
Waiting is not easy, but at the end of Psalm 27, David urges, “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” In the midst of trouble and pain, in the midst of armies besieging him and parents turning their backs on him, the psalmist holds out hope to be received by God, to be held by God, to be protected and heard.
But sometimes in that waiting place, God is quiet. The urgency and worry, the anxiety and fear, they’re so loud it doesn’t matter that we’re praying for God to be near—God seems far. And so the psalmist waits.
When armies of enemies surround us—be it death or sickness or trauma—it is tempting to close in and hunker down. Shh, no one needs to know. But the psalmist shows otherwise. Here are all of the things he’s feeling, all of the fears and pain, and here too is his plea to the Lord. David didn’t write the psalm for it to sit in a journal somewhere, just for himself. Millions of us have read these words and taken comfort, knowing that we are not alone.
When trials press in, we are not alone. Speak up. Share your burdens. The prayers of others invite in a peace that passes understanding. They clear the air in your troubled heart so you can hear and see the Lord’s presence again. Be strong. Take heart. Wait.
Points of Reflection
- When things get tough, who do you have in your life that can remind you that you aren’t alone?
- Have you ever felt as if God is turning his back to you, like David admits in this psalm? From this distance, are you able to see God’s hand and feet (perhaps in the form of a friend)?
For the Kids
- When you are frightened, do you want to be alone or with someone else?
- Who are your safe people that can help you pray and seek God when you are afraid?
The author of Deuteronomy insists that the listeners fix the words he spoke onto their hearts and minds. Try to memorize Psalm 27 so that these words of encouragement from David might be impressed upon your heart and mind. If you struggle to memorize things, choose one verse from the psalm to memorize, and create a piece of art or a sign of some kind for your home to remind yourself of the hope we have in the Lord.
Christian Wiman wrote a beautiful memoir in the face of his cancer diagnosis, about faith and death. My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer is a beautiful, honest look at the waiting—waiting for hope, waiting for cures, waiting for answers.
Listen or read online through your local library’s Libby app, or buy on Amazon.com or through a local independent bookstore near you.