Read Psalm 71:1-24
I have become like a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
The New Living Translation renders this verse, “My life has become an example to many.” The New King James says, “I have become a wonder.” Portent, example, wonder—whatever the case, people were talking about the writer of this psalm. He was being evaluated—how fun!
We’re not sure if David wrote this song, or if it was one of his musicians. It is generally believed that the composer was in his old age, and, surprisingly, still facing trials—reminding us that much like weird relatives, they never really go away!
As is always the case, with trials come evaluations. For that matter, evaluations come no matter what, be it trials or triumphs. If you are alive, you are going to get evaluated! And if you are in a position of influence of some kind, just multiply that to the “nth degree.” Again, how fun!
The psalmist was going through a challenge, and people were talking. Some thought his trial was proof that he was under God’s curse, while others saw that was God caring for him even in his trial. Now if I were to venture a guess, more people were amazed that God’s loving care had yet again sustained him than those who were putting a negative spin on it. Yet the psalmist was more focused on his naysayers than his encouragers. (Psalm 71:4,10-11,13,24) He was just doing what we human beings shouldn’t do, but do anyway: Giving undue weight to the critic.
But he also did something right—something you and I need to practice when we’re under the bright lights of another’s evaluation: Put our hope in God. (Psalm 71:5,14) Whether the critics are dead on, or dead wrong, or perhaps even both (as they say, even a broken clock gets it right twice a day), leaning on God to see us through (Psalm 71:12), and even cover our goofs with his grace (Psalm 71:20) is the only good way to go through challenging times and blunt the criticism of our evaluator.
Yes, you will be evaluated in life—how fun! Until the day you die, you will be evaluated—and even after you die. So what! Put your hope in God—after all, that’s the only thing that really matters.
“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”
—The Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 4:2-4)