I still remember the first time I read Psalm 51 and empathized with the writer. I felt so alone in my pain and anguish- the consequences of my poor decisions were weighing heavily upon me, and the guilt I felt was agonizing. I didn’t know how to express what I felt, my counselor encouraged me to look at Psalms- so I did. Wow. If you are going through something, whether it be the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, or somewhere in between- there is a Psalm for you.
I had lived a good portion of my life thinking I was a good person. I didn’t do any of the “really bad sins” anyway, so I think I felt pretty prideful about that at times. This was a turning point for me, a time when I was brought low in humility before the Lord. I recognized that I had consciously sinned- I had chosen to do what I wanted to do, directly opposing God and what His Word told me to do.
Psalm 51 helped me find words to express all the turmoil going on inside me. It helped me to pray and find the courage to ask forgiveness and change my life- to stop continuing in what I knew was wrong and walk away. Here are the words:
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
I recognized on a whole new level my need for God- for His forgiveness and the sacrifice of His Son. I was guilty, but He showed me mercy. And I will never doubt my need for Him again- I realized in this season that life with God was much better than life without- I wanted His peace, His guidance, His strength- and I needed His perspective- because I was not satisfied with what the world had to offer. The world left me feeling empty and alone- He is the only thing that fills the need that I have- whose love truly satisfies and frees me. Great is Thy Faithfulness.