How Psalm 28 Balances Despair with Trust

How Psalm 28 Balances Despair with Trust

Candidly, loss feels like you’ve been excommunicated. From life. You’re on the outside calling inside and no one hears. Even God. So, please know that it’s perfectly acceptable to have these categorically unacceptable feelings.

God is not offended.

“To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.” Psalm 28:1-2

Loss is another invitation to call to him anyway. He’s your only rock foundation. If you don’t feel like he hears, it’s time to make a plea for mercy and for him to open his ears to you. There’s a difference in abrasive, untrusting calling and gentle, faith-filled calling.

“Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.” Psalm 28:3

The petitioner, David, cries out on the basis of justice. As do we. As Psalm 89:33 reminds us, he will not be false to his faithfulness. So, David entreats the Lord not to deal with him as he deals with the wicked who put on a façade of peace while wickedness rules their hearts. He knows, by faith, he will tear them down because they do not regard the works of the Lord.

David stands in need of help, mercy, and he knows God will hear him. And David blesses God because he trusts the Lord’s ears and his response of aid, protection from the pit. He raises his hands toward the sanctuary. Brokenness and loss deliver a pit. Real danger, real pain. So as with lament, we turn to God and not away from him.

“Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.” Psalm 28:6

David’s crying heart—indeed the pain-filled heart of any mourner who turns to God—is met with answers—grace, mercy, peace, and comfort. A strong rock foundation delivers mercy. God is not deaf, and he is not silent. He hears.

David blesses the Lord.

Peter understands. He wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). The wicked speak peace and deliver wickedness. David has experienced God’s promise of peace and God delivered just as he promised. Therefore, David has some proclaiming to do.

Just as he cried out for mercy, now he heralds his praise. The Lord is his strength and his shield. He exults and overflows with songs of thanksgiving. He hallows the name of God as his refuge and shepherd.

It is said that God’s church doesn’t have a mission; God’s mission has the church. The church is a growing heritage of the Lord. We are his, even in brokenness—especially in brokenness, and he is ours. We are his heritage. We are proof of his faithfulness to all generations.

Do not shy away from speaking realistically about your circumstances. But beware—if your circumstances are telling you he has removed his steadfast love from you, your circumstances are lying to you. Psalm 28 will help you balance despair with trust.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:7-9

“So when my doubting, fearful soul is tempted to despair, I’ll trust my faithful Shepherd’s hold, and rest within his care!” Justin Wainscott, Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise


  1. Ronnie Guin

    Thank You for a comforting word for those of us in grief.

    • D. Ray Davis

      It’s my privilege, Ronnie. Thank you for walking with me…

  2. Faye

    Grief is such a mystery and blessing. Some days my loss feels like it was just yesterday and will never go away and others it feels like a distant memory. I realize God has given me this gift for a purpose and I discover new reasons daily.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Faye, I pray you continue to thrive; and you will as long as you maintain that expectant posture seeking to discover what gifts he has for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *