David knew how God felt about him (I LOVE this). In his words he prayed, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalm 17:8) The apple of God’s eye – if you have every heard this phrase or used it, you know it means being at the very center of someone’s focus and in God’s case, His protection. Deuteronomy 32:10 says, “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.” I think that perhaps that verse speaks for each of us. EACH of us is the apple of God’s eye.
Even with the head and heart knowledge that David had, of how much God loved him and cared for him, he still experienced anxiety. Wait. Really? Yes. I have learned that being anxious or worried or troubled does not mean you have less faith – we just live in an imperfect world that is FILLED with anxiety, worry and trouble.
THE HARD JOURNEY OF LIFE
David talked a lot about his soul being troubled. Troubled means: ” unsettled, hard, tough, difficult, stressful, anxious.” David the shepherd boy who would later be King, knew a lot about stress. I was wondering why. I mean, his typical days were spent tending sheep. They are a stubborn animal with the tendency to wander and they do what they want, but THIS was his reason to be so troubled and anxious? It had to be more.
There are 150 Psalms in which he cried out to God because he felt forsaken.
“I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” (Psalm 69:3)
There have been times where I literally would try NOT to think about whatever it was I was going through (the really bad times..) because I couldn’t handle my own falling-apart anymore. I was tired. Literally, just tired. Tired of my own thoughts, words, tears, and tired of the storm beating down on my soul. I felt like I couldn’t even pray because it exhausted me to do THAT. I was sick and tired of crying out and asking for help. I was too tired to even seek the shepherd’s help.
EVER FELT LIKE DAVID?
Psalm 22 is a Psalm where David talks about how he feels forsaken, wondering where God is and if He hears his groaning. He expresses how he feels like a worm, a reproach and someone despised. He says, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. It has melted within me. (whoa) My strength is dried up like a potsherd (a broken piece of pottery) And my tongue clings to my jaws.” THIS is a true testament to depression and anxiety.
How David felt and how he expressed his anxiety maybe will resonate with some of us that have felt or currently feel the same. It is very hard to put into words that level of despair. I am thankful David was a writer and chose to write his way through his troubles.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
Ironically (or not) after his depressing “woe-is-me” Psalm 22, comes THE most infamous Psalm of them all. Psalm 23.
You know this Psalm – “The Lord is my Shepherd – I shall NOT fear.” The shepherd’s love shows up in David’s relationship with God! He always ALWAYS comes for the ONE forsaken sheep. It is the very nature of a shepherd. Verse 3 says, “He restored my soul.” Thank you, Jesus! “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear NO evil for You are with me.”
Because God sees us as the apple of His eye, and because HE is our shepherd, He will take care of us and find us when we are lost, rescue us when we are afraid, heal us when we are broken, and care for us as His beloved children. David walked this out, so that he could encourage US to do the same. There will always be anxiety, worry and trouble. There ALSO will always be a Shepherd watching over you, delivering you from evil.
THE SHEPHERD’S PROMISE
(John 10:11-17) Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
You are NOT alone. HE IS WITH YOU. If you can get that and wrap your head around it, it will change everything. A shepherd does NOT leave his sheep alone. And if one is lost or stuck in a thicket, he will leave the other 99 to come rescue it. Let us all feel what David did when he understood how loved he was by the Good Shepherd, that we are indeed the apple of His eye.
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