I just started high school and I’m beginning to feel the stress of homework, extra-curricular activities, etc. I spent today anticipating the moment I could come home and crash on the couch. After having such an awful day, I was just wondering, what should I do on days like this? I find it so easy to blend in with my surroundings, and hard to understand how I can live courageously when all I can think about is the weekend. Is there anything God says I should do? -T
Yesterday we started tackling T’s question by responding with rest. Today we are taking what might seem to be quite the opposite approach: Wake Up!
“Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” Psalm 57:8
The reason I am claiming this verse today isn’t because I pulled out my harp when I got out of bed. I identify with this verse because I don’t always awake full of the courage or desire to live out the joy of the Cross. Open your Bible and notice the inscription at the beginning of Psalm 57. My Bible says: “Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.”
A miktam was most likely a musical notation or title for psalms of penance for sin. (Jennifer Rothschild – Me, Myself & Lies) David is running for his life, possibly for years at the point this song is written. He spends the first portion of the passage asking for mercy and crying out to God. I picture him pouring out these words on the verge of tears:
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. (Psalm 57:1)
The passage continues as David anguishes about His situation. He pours out his worries to the Lord. And then, starting in verse 7, the tone of the passage begins to make a shift.
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.” (Psalm 57:7-11)
David is in real danger. He probably hasn’t slept, bathed, or had a regular meal in days. He is lonely and probably feeling anything but courageous.
I know that when I become overwhelmed I want to crawl up into a ball and have a good long cry until everything has blown over. I want God to swoop in and just fix it.
David demonstrates reliance upon God, but he also makes a choice when it comes to his emotions. David chooses to praise God in the midst of terror. He commands himself, “Don’t sleep through this! Don’t trust your heart, trust God! Get up and get moving!” David’s heart might have been telling him to hide, to distrust God (after all, wasn’t David SUPPOSED to be King. He didn’t choose that, God did!), and to even check out for a while. Instead, David knew how important it was to be awake and alert.
The Hebrew word translated awake means “wake, life up (self), stir up (self).” (Rotschild)
I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m certainly not saying that this is my usual behavior. I just want to point out the example of David. He’s worn out from the fight and yet he commands his soul to praise the Lord. His attitude and response are his choice. Your attitude and response in the midst of exhaustion are your choice. Choose to live wide awake!
Stop back by tomorrow for tips on this very topic.