In the midst of life’s trials, we often find ourselves worn out and asking questions: “Why is this happening to me? What am I supposed to do?” We may even question God: “Where is God in this? How could He let this happen?” Sometimes, we are so deep in a pit of despair and questions of why, we feel unable to move forward. However, God has instilled within us the ability for deeper connection and healing by way of self-soothing.
Beginning with a series of questions that are relatable to our own hardships, Psalm 13 gives voice to our pain: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-3). What is interesting about this Psalm is that after asking these questions and boldly approaching the Lord, the Psalmist then says, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praises, for you have been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6). The Psalmist makes a choice! He does not choose to stay stuck in his hurt, brokenness, and despair; rather, he recalls memories of past times God had been good to him. He recalls when God had provided, had comforted, and had helped him. Then, he chooses to sing!
In a devotional book on the Psalms, the authors write: “Christians must cultivate holy memories of God’s work in history and in our lives, which alone can sustain us in the times of despair and darkness. Christ’s obedience to go to the cross was made possible through such holy memories” (p. 20). In times of need, we are able to recall times of God’s faithfulness and internalize His provision. But wait, it gets better! God has not only created us to do this with Him, but also with each other! Even if a loved one is not physically with us, we can draw on our relationship with that person and are able to feel the warmth of their connection and their presence. We are equipped to soothe ourselves because of our ability to build relationships with others.
Whatever challenge and pit you are currently in, know that you are able to bring light to your darkness not only by recalling God’s goodness but also by seeking comfort from both past and present relationships.
-Marissa Pollard, MA, LMFT, RPT
Tennent, T. and J. (2017). A meditative journey through the psalms. Seedbed Publishing. Franklin, TN.