When things go wrong

Psalm 89

This note was originally published on Sunday 27 October 2013.

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?


Think on this: God is mighty, faithful and holy, and he loves you, no matter what.


Psalm 89


Verses 1–18 are a powerful reminder of God’s awesome holiness, power and might – and, above all, his faithfulness (vs 1, 2, 5, 8, 14). Verses 19–37 go on to tell how God promised to establish and uphold David’s throne for ever.

But... God has rejected his anointed (v 38) and renounced the covenant (v 39). The city is destroyed (v 40), their enemies victorious (v 42). And so the psalmist is angry. He cries: Will you hide yourself for ever (v 46)? Where is the great love you promised us (v 49)? However, this is not a crisis of faith – the psalmist knows God’s power and love. It is a crisis of discipleship: how to respond to the ‘but’ of verse 38.

When things go wrong, we have to decide: do we wallow in self-pity, or look beyond our own situation? That doesn’t mean ignoring the problem, but telling God about it, and then trusting that although our life is fleeting (v 47) it is in God’s hands, and he is faithful.

This crisis of discipleship will be faced by all of us, at different times and in different ways. The psalmist does the right thing: ‘Praise be to the Lord for ever!’ (v 52).


Whatever your situation, pray like the psalmist: praise God for his love and faithfulness, and tell him what’s going on in your life. Ask him to help you know his love and trust in his power.