What do you have going for you everything is against you? What will not fail you when what you thought was true and solid and real collapses beneath you? Who will stand by you when friends forsake you and enemies seize their opportunity? What works when everything is on the line but nothing else is working?
This experience is inevitable. We don’t have to go looking for it. It will come find us. God himself has written it into our stories. But when this happens, we are forced to ask the basic question: What can I count on, when I can’t count on anything else?
Psalm 139 is where to go for the answer. When David found himself in that catastrophic place, he dug all the way down to the deepest foundations of his very existence. This is the unchanging bedrock he found there:
God, you know me (verses 1-6).
God, you are with me (verses 7-12).
God, you made me (verses 13-18).
The psalm then turns on the hinge of verse 18b: “I awake, and I am still with you.” David wakes up from his contemplations. He was lost for a while in his thoughts. As he stirs himself, blinks, sits up and looks around again, he finds that he is still with God as he returns mentally to “the real world” where nothing has changed. But he has changed. He has been renewed within by meditating on God’s intensely personal care for him. His boldness returns:
God, I am wholeheartedly for you (verses 19-24).
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God” (Psalm 139:17).