Psalm 71

Years ago, I experienced a time of despair and brokenness. In my desperation, I grabbed my Bible and left early for the evening worship service at my church. As I sat alone and waited for the service to begin, I searched my Bible frantically for answers, scanning the Psalms hoping to find words for my heart’s prayer.

One verse stood out.

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:14

I kept looking.

I didn’t have hope. I didn’t feel like praising. I needed relief.

I wanted a verse to point me to a specific action or a powerful prayer that would resolve my circumstances.

Nothing.

I kept coming back to Psalm 71:14.

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.

As I read this verse over and over, I knew God was speaking to me. It was as if this verse was in English and all the surrounding verses were in a foreign language I could not read.

I have to be honest.
I wanted a different message.
I wanted a guarantee that everything would work out like I wanted it. I wanted to know how long it would take before life returned to the normal I knew before.

The message I truly needed, however, was there in Psalm 71:14.

I felt hopeless, like my life was falling apart.
God’s Word said I could hope anyway, without feeling hopeful. Hope was something I had as a gift from God and could not be destroyed by life’s blows.

I felt crushed by pain.
God’s Word said I could choose to worship anyway.

That night, in my desperation, I chose to act on the truth before I felt it was true.
I hoped anyway.
I worshipped anyway.

It was the beginning of a season of learning to place my hope in God, not in changing circumstances, of learning to worship based on who God is, not how I felt.

My circumstances did not change right away. However, in the months that followed, hope and worship did their work in my heart. My focus shifted. I wanted to grow in my relationship with God more than I wanted relief. Hope and worship became my first response to difficulty, not my last resort.

Now, when I read Psalm 71, I am able to put verse 14 into the bigger context of this prayer for rescue.

I am able to give testimony to the truth of verse 20:

Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.

And I long for verse 18 to shape the purpose of my days:

Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.

Life hurts.
But as for me, I will always have hope.

Bitter troubles come our way, but restoration is possible.
You will restore my life again.

I will choose to worship.
I will praise you more and more.

I will choose to give testimony to God’s strength.
I will declare your power to the next generation.

Hope.
Worship.
Restoration.
Purpose.

No matter what happens, these cannot be taken away.

Father, thank You for giving me hope. When life is hard, I will hope anyway. I will worship anyway. You are my rock of refuge to which I can always go. Thank You that You will restore my life again. For all of my days, I will tell others about Your power and goodness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 71

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