I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Do you remember Dorothy Hamill? She was a figure skating star of the 1976 Olympics, winning gold and silver medals. She then went on to be a professional skater and television star. In 1993 she was tied with Mary Lou Retton as the most popular female athlete. All seemed well. But then, she and her husband made some terrible business decisions, she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and everything went into a tail-spin. She declared bankruptcy.
Did you see verses six and seven above? David said that in his prosperity he told himself he could not be moved. But when God hid His face, David was dismayed. His security and success evaporated in a moment. I think faith is sometimes harder when things are going well. It is so easy to forget that we need God and that our successes are all rather fragile. Let the economy go south, a war break out, a diagnosis of some terrible disease, or a pandemic, and we can all find that the carefully constructed lives we live come crashing down. David wonders in verses 9 and 10 if he will die. “Does the dust praise you, God?” he wonders?
Dorothy Hamill reinvented herself. Her arthritis responded to medication, she and her husband rebuilt their finances. She has appeared on several television shows and even got to mentor Olympic figure skaters. David says that the Lord has turned his mourning into dancing in verse 11. It is the Easter season and the answer to David’s question is surprising. Yes, the dust will praise God. For there is no fall, no crisis, no, not even death, which is beyond God’s ability to save. As David says in verse 3, God brings us up from Sheol and from the pit our lives are restored to us.