Dark Night, Bright Tomorrow

Read Psalm 69

Featured Verse: Psalm 69:5,13

“You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you…
But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.”

We’re not sure what the source of David’s despair was, but he turned it into a lament; a plaintiff prayer to God for deliverance and vindication. Whatever was going on, this psalm represents David’s dark night of the soul.

Interestingly, several New Testament writers prophetically applied much of Psalm 69 to Jesus. Jesus, too, had a dark night of the soul as he carried the sins of the entire world in his sinless body to Calvary. The difference between Jesus and David was that Jesus was without sin and undeserving of that suffering, while David was quite sinful, and much deserving—as he, himself, recognized.

You will notice in the title that David wrote this psalm to be sung to the tune of “Lilies.” What you may not realize is that another song was written to the same tune, Psalm 45. That song, however, is quite celebratory, extolling King David as handsome, strong, victorious, just, and whose reign will endure.

How true to life is that! One moment you are riding high, and the next, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. People who once adored you now want to string you up. It happened to David, it happened to Jesus, and it will likely happen to you. You, too, will have a dark night of the soul.

During that dark night, you will likely begin to focus on your own imperfections as the source of your dire straits. And likely, you will be partially correct. Your specific mistakes and your general state of sinfulness often opens the door to difficult and disastrous events. But what you can take from David is that he didn’t let that stop him from courageously coming to God and seeking deliverance.

He recognized his own folly (Psalm 69:5), but he knew that his wrong didn’t make the disproportionate response of the evildoers who pounced on him right (Psalm 69:4,22-28). He also recognized that getting a hearing from the Almighty didn’t require sinless perfection; it required authentic repentance and courageous contrition. So in spite of his folly, he appealed to the love and mercy of God (Psalm 69:16) to turn his dark night into a bright tomorrow.

For David and for you, God is the God of salvation. His specialty is saving the imperfect. You would never know God as the God of salvation if you didn’t need saving. The fact is, you need saving from your sins—which he has done. And you will need saving from the effects of sin—yours, and others—every once in a while. That’s just life.

So just remember that when you are in the middle of your dark night and it looks like the day will never come, God is still the God of salvation for imperfect people like you, so cry out to him. David didn’t exhaust the Divine supply of love and mercy; there’s plenty left for you.

And the God of your salvation still specializes in turning dark, bitter nights of the soul into brighter, better tomorrows.

“Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue,  it is by mercy that we shall be saved.”
—John Chrysostom

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