Learning American idioms must be incredibly difficult for people who speak other languages. Things that flow naturally from the tongue for English-speakers surely create a lot of confusion for others. Idioms are a piece of cake if you were born here. Otherwise it’s like cutting corners and beating around the bush rather than just coming straight to the point. These obscure phrases are hard to wrap your head around. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. (See what I did there?)
The idiom “down but not out” comes to mind as we read the 31st psalm. This phrase is from the boxing world and refers to when a boxer is knocked down, but not knocked out. A count is started, and if the boxer can stand up before the referee gets to ten, the fight resumes.
Somehow I doubt that David was a boxer, but he was definitely sprawled out on the mat with the count at about seven when he wrote this:
Psalm 31 (New Revised Standard Version)
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.
11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever been knocked down so hard by life and its challenges that you thought you couldn’t even lift your head up? So many things can do that to us. Sickness, job loss, betrayal, infidelity, the death of a loved one, abuse, bankruptcy, sin…there are times when we are overpowered and we go down.
But with God, we’re never out.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
If you are having an incredibly difficult day/week/year and you feel like you’ve just gone five rounds with Mike Tyson and your ear is bleeding, take heart. God is YOUR God. Your times are in his hands and he will deliver you from your trials. You can always count on his steadfast love.
As they say, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings! Good things come to those who wait.