Last year while hiking near Sacramento, Mike Vilhauer got lost. He wandered off the path and suddenly realized he couldn’t find his way back. As the sun sank, Mike crawled under some shelter – and over the next five days, he weathered storms, battled hunger and even fought off an angry wolverine! But as he grew weaker, he started to think he’d never be rescued.
Have you ever felt this way? Like you’re hopelessly lost? We all go through trying times. And when I start to feel this way, I open up my Bible and turn to the Psalms. If anyone knows what it feels like to be lost, overwhelmed and abandoned, it’s King David. See how he writes about it in Psalm 22 –
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest… Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me” (Psalm 22:1-2; 22:16).
What David was feeling here is sometimes called “the Dark Night of the Soul,” a term coined by the 16th-century Catholic mystic, Saint John of the Cross. Now widely recognized among scholars worldwide, this term has even been picked up by Hollywood screenwriters. It’s that point in the movie where the hero feels like there’s no hope left. But that’s not where this biblical story ends. Listen to how David finishes his Psalm —
“For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help” (Psalm 22:24).
I love that last verse about crying out for help. It’s a truth we should never forget. Mike Vilhauer sure didn’t. Instead, he made an 8-foot sign that read – “HELP.” Searchers saw it and were able to save his life. The next time we’re feeling deserted, overwhelmed or alone; remember that our Triune God is faithful to hear us when we call on him. He will never abandon us or forsake us. And that’s a promise we can count on.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.