The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.(Psalm 27:1, 3)
While the beginning of Psalm 27 is confident and hopeful — “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” — the imagery with which the psalm begins is overwhelming and terrifying. The first few verses are actually a description of war. Armies are advancing against David. Evildoers and enemies are intent on destroying him. Battle is breaking out.
Regardless of whether or not David is using war as a metaphor to describe his life or if an actual war is upon him, David is in desperation. He’s vulnerable and exposed. He’s on the defense. He’s running for cover and looking for refuge. He needs help and needs it now. However, in the midst of chaos, he’s remarkably confident and unafraid.
We all go through seasons where life feels like a battle field. Relationships aren’t working. Situations at work are tenuous. Reports of cancer have surfaced. Our kids seems to be unruly and extra challenging. In these difficult situations and others like them, when life feels like a battle, it’s natural to want to wave the white flag and throw in the towel. Life can get to the point where it’s so hard it seems impossible to go on.
This raises the question, how, like David, do we stay confident and hopeful when life around us is falling apart?
In the face of pending destruction, David takes refuge in the house of the Lord. He writes,
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (V3-4).
David knows that in the midst of turmoil and struggle God is our ever-present help in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1). Naturally, David desires to go to the place where God’s presence dwells, the temple.
And notice why he goes to the temple, not for battle strategy, not to hide in the temple as though it’s a bunker. David goes to the temple to worship. He longs to seek God’s face and soak in His glory.
In seasons of turmoil and chaos worship helps give us perspective. Worship pulls us above our circumstances and helps us see our situation in light of who God is. Worship reminds us that God is bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything we are currently facing. Worship reminds us that God is with us and is for us in the midst of our struggle. And if God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)?
In his final hours with His disciples before the cross Jesus told them, “In this world you will have trouble.” Yes, things are going to be hard and painful. Life sometimes will get the best of you. There will be days when life feels like a raging war and you will want to throw in the towel and call it quits.
In the same breath, Jesus also said, “Take heart! I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33).” In the end Jesus wins. He gets the last word. In Him we are more than conquerors. Therefore, we can take courage in the face of hardship. We can be confident in the chaos. We can remain hopeful in the midst of heartache. And worship helps get us there.