Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem “The Psalm of Life.” One stanza says, “Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul.” Longfellow lived back in the 19th century, but people still like his poetry. In this poem, he captures a truth we cannot ignore. God created us to live—not to die. Yet we die physically because our bodies wear out. In Psalm 31, David feels he is about to die because he is so crushed by his enemies. Yet despite his despair, he knows where to turn for relief and hope. He writes, “Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within. I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors—even my friends are afraid to come near me. But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, ‘You are my God!” My future is in your hands.” Despite David’s grief and despair, he knew what to do. He turned to God. He counted on God’s promise to deliver him from his trouble. Like David, we—God’s own children—sometimes feel despair. But also like David, we can turn to God and His Son. Jesus Christ can yank us out of despair, and give us hope.
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