A Psalm for Battle

I read this Psalm and immediately it related to me with my mental health issues…

Psalm 144 (NLT): A psalm of David

Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
He trains my hands for war
and gives my fingers skill for battle.
He is my loving ally and my fortress,
my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.
He makes the nations submit to me.
O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?
For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow.
Open the heavens, Lord, and come down.
Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.
Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies!
Shoot your arrows and confuse them!
Reach down from heaven and rescue me;
rescue me from deep waters,
from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
I will sing a new song to you, O God!
I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.
For you grant victory to kings!
You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword.
Save me!
Rescue me from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
May our sons flourish in their youth
like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters be like graceful pillars,
carved to beautify a palace.
May our barns be filled
with crops of every kind.
May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands,
even tens of thousands,
and may our oxen be loaded down with produce.
May there be no enemy breaking through our walls,
no going into captivity,
no cries of alarm in our town squares.
Yes, joyful are those who live like this!
Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord

Let’s break it down and show how I relate my mental health battle to this Psalm

1. Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war
and gives my fingers skill for battle.

God is ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS where ever I am… If I’m not sensing him, feeling him – that’s on me… And honestly sometimes I still end up flat on my back… The battle will continue to the day I die… And that day will be dictated by God – not Satan….

The training… Not TRAINING not as a Kung-Foo champion… And how do I get this training? In the trenches… Keeping in communication with God… And the fingers? I visual fingers turning the pages of a Bible… Knowing Scripture is better than any black belt…

2. He is my loving ally and my fortress,
my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.

I don’t think that this passage needs a lot of explaining BUT it is critical… It’s so easy to become complacent when life seems “easy”… and I start a slow slide away until I’m in near a whopping situation and I grab onto Him again and He tucks me under the shadow of His wing… ¹

3. He makes the nations submit to me.
O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?
For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow.

The nation to David was the physical and tangible enemy… My enemy isn’t, but Satan I know has already lost the final battle… It’s like a sinking ship and he plans to take as many people as possible and make their lives utterly miserable… He will fight with all his strength and use every trick…

And he’s good at it… Like the suicide pilots in WWII… He’s been working his trade long before I was born… The final war battle is won but I need to pay attention to all the smaller battles and scrimmages… This is where I so readily trip up… And don’t notice until I’m face down in the muck, mostly of my own doing… Cue the rollover and once again I’m on my back looking up…

4. Open the heavens, Lord, and come down.

God is always just a prayer away..

I just need to look up and ask… If I’m not looking at Him then I’m looking the wrong way and once again I’ll find that I’ve been sliding downward and away…

5. Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.
Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies!
Shoot your arrows and confuse them!

God is in the house! He’s right with me as I battle my issues… His shots are always dead aim!

So what might these arrows and lightning bolts be?

  • God’s word
  • Prayers
  • Support network of family and friends
  • Physian’s
  • Medication
  • Therapy
  • Hospital or community based stays

Wait….
Hospital stays? Where is my faith?

While in community or hospital stays or group therapy I have been able to show God to people… Show His love… Reach people I directly relate to…

You see, when I’m in recovery I can be an example of how God lead me out… They’ve seen me when I have been a mess…

6. Reach down from heaven and rescue me;
rescue me from deep waters,
from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.

Here is where the real work begins… I realize that I’m in a situation where I definitely need God to help me… Satan definitely loves to lie… Think back to the Garden of Eden… He will take and use Scripture out of context… He wanted me in hell, which won’t happen because I believe Jesus died in the cross…

But I also know he will try EVERYTHING in his power to make my life not focused on God…

7. I will sing a new song to you, O God!
I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.
For you grant victory to kings!

David started with praise… Not sure? Go back and read verse 1 again… He’s told God about his situation… So what does he do? He starts a Biblical party! Read Phil 4:4-7

8. You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword. (Mental Health – Suicide)

He isn’t bragging but he is stating his faith in God… You did it once before, please do it again!

Without a through and through healing, my mental health seems to be a life long fight…

Does this mean I lack faith?

No, I think the opposite is actually true for Christians who are knowingly dealing with mental health issues…

Do you think I want mental health illness?

There are so many things I simply can no longer do! I SOOOO loved my job! I mean really loved it! I was involved in my profession at both a provincial and national level… I had to step down… That alone should prove it…

There is an old saying of don’t put the cart in front of the horse… Meaning it’s easier to pull than push…

Christians who battle mental health illness actually push… It’s way harder to live life and trust God… The daily thought wars are endless…

10. Rescue me from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;

Part of the”power” is stigma… I was at a friend’s BBQ and met up with someone from my past… An old acquaintance… Divulging my mental health issues was really hard (pride)… I was caught up in my own created stigma bubble… But after I did break through, it opened up other channels of discussion…

11. May our sons flourish in their youth
like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters be like graceful pillars,
carved to beautify a palace.
May our barns be filled
with crops of every kind.
May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands,
even tens of thousands,
and may our oxen be loaded down with produce.
May there be no enemy breaking through our walls,
no going into captivity,
no cries of alarm in our town squares.

I debated keeping the verses just above but then I pictured how beautiful it could be for mental health issues to be embraced with love. Providing hope²…

12. Yes, joyful are those who live like this!
Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord

Amen

¹ Psalm 145:14 (NLT): The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads

² Psalm 145:15 (NLT): The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.

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