Psalm 4 floored me today. It was like a love letter from God. I was hit between the eyes by the opening line, “O God, you have declared me perfect in your eyes; you have always cared for me in my distress; now hear me as I call again” (Psalm 4:1-2, TLB).
There is no hesitation or equivocation. The psalmist (David) did not say that God had decided to consider him perfect as long as he didn’t cross certain lines. He didn’t apologize for having to call on God yet again. Surely any human welcome would wear out under the pummeling we give God’s grace with our selfishness, disobedience and unbelief. But not God’s.
I wonder how David acquired this kind of faith. I want to have it too. Why can’t I be this confident of God’s help in every circumstance, even after an egregious sin or in the midst of the worst storm. I admire such faith in others but feel like an impostor when I try to step out for myself. Perhaps David used his will to do it. Maybe he told himself, “No matter how audacious it may seem, I’m going to pray and seek God and expect Him to come to my aid. I don’t care how I feel or how undeserving I may be.” Somehow David was able to get a glimpse of God as a Father with an unlimited supply of love, grace, mercy, patience and compassion. How did he get hold of such an image? As for me, the idea goes against everything inside me and most everything outside as well.
Perhaps this is what real faith is—the kind that stands in the absence of even the minutest supporting emotional or environmental indication. When it is impossible from every angle, there remains only faith, an absurd insistence on the imminent provision of God in the face of surrounding evidence to the contrary. This is the kind of confidence that seems out of reach for a black sheep like me. Then again, does God have any black sheep? I’m thinking probably not.