Triumphing over despair
One of the most stirring and uplifting psalms in the Bible begins on a bleak note of despair: ''My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'' Yet it is in this great anguish that the writer begins a train of thought that leads to an acknowledgment of God's supremacy. He recalls, ''Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them." n1
n1 Psalms 22:1, 4.
Most of us are probably aware that the Bible includes many records of those who, discovering the true nature and power of God, found deliverance from dire problems: starvation, intense persecution, natural disasters, sickness, and even death. These spiritual discoveries of the goodness, omnipotence, and ever-presence of God brought them not just relief but a new sense of the order of things. They glimpsed to some degree the power and might of God, who causes only good. We might say that their suffering was due to an ignorance of God, an ignorance of the fact that God is the perfect Principle of all, the one cause, the one creator, producing only that which is good and maintaining its perfection.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains, ''It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.'' n2 This appears to have been the experience of the author of Psalm 22. He yearned deeply for God's help, which those before him had received: ''Be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.''
n2 Science and Health, p. 390.
Studing this Psalm in light of present-day Christian healing, we can see that in seeking divine help this worshiper of the one God has taken a big step. He has moved from utter hopelessness to an acknowledgment that he could be helped by God. He has awaked to the fact that there remains an opportunity for deliverance. It's a step--an important and productive step --we all must take if we're in need of help ourselves.
The Psalmist then vowed, ''I will declare thy name unto my brethren.'' He would make known the saving nature of God.
Searching the Bible, we find many encouraging passages revealing the true nature of Deity. He's referred to as the Almighty, our Father, a very present help in trouble, our Judge and Lawgiver, Love. Studying the life of our Master, Christ Jesus, we can see that he understood God better than any other individual. His career of healing gives graphic evidence that an understanding of God delivers people from torments and distress of every kind.
Referring to God, the writer of Psalm 22 joyfully reports - and we can all imagine the depth of his joy - ''He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. . . . For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations.'' The Psalmist's tone of great despair is gone.
Despair is an immobile, frozen state of thought that needs to be broken up. Many may be afraid to turn to God, Spirit, for help, because they feel it's a sign of weakness. But how wrong that is. Relying on God is the primary step in regaining our strength. We may be unwilling to seek this help until all else has failed, but God never leaves us comfortless or without help. Discovering this, we begin to realize that divine Truth and Love should have been and always should be our first resort. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy writes, ''Truth and Love come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and prevails through the understanding of God.'' n3
n3 Ibid., p. 567.
As the Psalmist wrestled and prevailed, so can we. Study of the Bible helps to give us the understanding we need. The power of Christ, Truth, is, as the Bible would say, from everlasting to everlasting, and is able to meet all human needs. As divine help is always available, doesn't it make good sense to seek this sure assistance now, and so begin to know our God? DAILY BIBLE VERSE Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalms 42:11