“Mommy, look!” “Daddy, watch me!” “Nana, why does your elbow look like that?” “Papa, play Hungry Hippos with me!” Children need and demand constant attention and interaction from the adults in their presence. As much as we love it, all of the energy that they require can take a toll. A young mother recently posted that she had an amazing day at the beach. Her husband and her two older children sufficiently entertained themselves and the two little ones to the extent that she ACTUALLY READ A FULL CHAPTER in her book! It was like a Christmas miracle! Raise your hand if you’ve been there.
When I read the first line of Psalm 4, it occurred to me that we pretty much sound just like that to God. Read the first verse:
Psalm 4 (New Revised Standard Version)
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
This made me laugh out loud. ANSWER ME WHEN I CALL!! Our children demand that of us when they are younger and then there is a reversal. As they age and become more independent, we make that demand of them. When your teenager leaves the house for the evening with car keys in her hand, this is what you say to her. Answer your cell when I call! I want to keep track of you. I want to know you’re safe. I need reassurance.
Our demand that God answer us when we call comes from a place of faith, not fear. When we make this request, we are counting on God to help us as he did in the past. David expresses both his need for God to hear him and his frustration with his people’s inability to remain steadfast in their walk. Wicked men have slandered David, and he is weary of waiting for retribution.
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
2 How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?
How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?
But the word of assurance comes…God hears the faithful.
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 When you are disturbed, do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
So David encourages us to trust that God will come with the answer. We only need to wait in silence for our deliverance.
6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
7 You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
Just as we crave knowing that our children are safe from harm, God needs to provide that safety for us. He is our loving parent who waits up by the phone until we are safely home. Only in him can we sleep in peace, for it is only in him that we can be truly safe.
8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
Are there places in your life where you feel unsafe? Are there relationships, situations, activities, or behaviors that you, or people around you, engage in that make you feel in danger? It is not God’s will for you to live that way. If this is your situation, get help. There is some person or agency that is capable of being a safety net for you.
David promises us that God makes us lie down and sleep in peace. If you don’t experience this, please talk to someone.