I prefer Sad David. Sure, there’s Victorious David. King David. Shepherd Boy David. The iconic leader and heroic figure dominates so much of Biblical lore and landscape, but the Psalmist brings other gifts besides some of the most epic stories in Scripture. Indeed, it is David’s raw emotional bursts like the one in Psalm 10 that resonate with me perhaps more than others.
“Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” I’ve often asked this in some form or another. In moments of cries and crises, I question the presence of God. The silence is deafening, as they say. In need of an answer, we all reach out for something – anything – bigger than us, bigger than our scenario. And many times, there’s nothing but the darkness.
I’m glad David says something. It’s the equivalent to someone finally acknowledging the elephant in the room that no one will talk about because they’re all afraid of a confrontation. We all feel it. We all sense it. But usually the church is silent on these things, as if to say that God seems absent is to actually insult him.
Yet here this historical figure whose lineage includes the Son of God cowers alone, afraid, confused, frustrated. The same emotions that cloud my judgment and keep me up at night aren’t mine alone to wrestle with. They’re universal and even essential to the journey of faith we’re all on.
The beautiful part of this is that David begins with such heartfelt questions marked by defeat and comes out the other side confident in the greatness of his God. That’s the tension we all walk with. We believe, only help our unbelief. We’ll never deny him and then the rooster crows. Our spiritual lives are marked by the tension of a doubt-full confidence, a phrase that only makes sense on this crazy journey of faith.
These Psalms are true gifts to us, signs that we’re real people with real feelings that aren’t so distant from what anyone else is feeling at a given time. It’s a natural part of our growing belief in God and learning what it means to walk with Him. And it’s vulnerable heroes like David who shed light on those moments.
Matt Conner is a freelance writer and music journalist. As the founding pastor of The Mercy House, he led a church community for more than six years in intense community development across racial and socio-economic lines. As a writer, he’s interviewed thousands of musicians for multiple print and web-based publications.