For nearly 365 days of the calendar year, I find myself under blue skies. Typically, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sun shines brightly. I can imagine most of you drooling right now. What you would give for such a climate to call home right? Well, one important thing I’ve left out of this equation so far is that the temperatures range in the triple digits for about 5-6 months a year. You begin to understand an entire new level of the word “hot” when you live in the desert.
Still, there are those rare but occasional days when the sun sinks behind a cloud, the sky is gray, and if we’re lucky, we’ll even see some rain. These happen to be my most favorite days, because they are so few and far between. They present themselves as a bit of reprieve from the harsh heat that defines most of our days. It’s like a much needed break, a retreat. Rest.
Today is one of those days. In the middle of the summer when we typically boast our highest temperatures, I’m sitting outside in pants and a long-sleeved shirt not sweating a drop. This is what I like to call good. On days like today, I find it easy to connect with God. I see Him in the cloudy skies, and I experience Him in the cooler breeze. It’s when the pavement is hot and life seems even hotter that my natural default moves away from Him and onto other, lesser things.
This is what I love about Psalm 62. King David finds himself in the heat of life within these twelve short verses, and although he uses some of this space to talk about the struggle, he sandwiches his pain with praise. He reflects on who God is and on His faithfulness, and it is that alone that sees him through.
Notice in verse one:
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” (NIV)
Notice again in verse five, as if he hasn’t even skipped a beat:
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.” (NIV)
Still, in between these two professions of faith, we read his words of desperation and despair. Here’s the truth of it all. David could have chosen to remain in the place of verses three and four, but he didn’t. He began from a place of praise and recognition of who God is, he came back to that place in the middle of his refrain, and he landed the plane there at the end. I love this about David because it reveals his humanity. He was no greater than you nor I. He was a flawed, broken, weak individual, one who was daily and desperately in need of God’s grace. Just like you. Just like me. So, he talked about the real, unfortunate, and painful things of his life, but he always brought the conversation back to praise.
And don’t miss this, friends:
This is what secured his rest.
Notice, it wasn’t will power on his part or sheer determination to overcome the mountains that faced him. It was his choice to recognize who God was. It was his default which proclaimed that God was his source of salvation and hope, not his circumstances nor his ability to overcome them.
He repeats himself again in verses two and six when he declares to all what is the firm foundation upon which he stands.
“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (NIV)
As I read these words this morning and look out over the gray skies that hover above me, I’m reminded of what true rest really looks like. It’s not about managing or controlling my circumstances in order to ensure safety or comfort for myself. It’s all about recognizing who God is despite my circumstances. Do you see the difference? We forfeit rest for our souls when we refuse to default to praise and instead rehearse the pain.
If we could choose our perspective today to be one that reflects trust in an unchanging, ever-faithful God, imagine the possibilities. We could renew our strength. We could soar on wings like eagles. We could run and not grow weary. We could walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31) If we would but recognize where our hope comes from, rest would be our reality right around the corner.