I don’t know if David suffered from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) but Psalm 39 seems to the broken words of a broken man. At a young age, this future warrior who will kill his tens of thousands, killed a giant, decapitated him and carried his bloody head around. So solemn of a psalm is this that it is often read at funerals.
David felt so oppressed and was so much in despair that he got silent. It kindled up like a fire and thought about what is the whole purpose of life, how short it is like the width of his hand, like a vapor or a shadow. He had seen his fellow soldiers fall and die, often due to his own commands, and yet he survived. Even though he was silent, thoughts swirled in his head but he didn’t share them with anyone, except for God.
Rich and poor; those who live long or die young; good and bad people alike; all of them are virtually nothing compared to God. In verse seven, David asks “what am I waiting for?” Why am I still here on earth? In all my crying, in all my sins, as God gazed and stared David down, he realized all his imperfections and how much of a traveler, a sojourner, he was through this world. Like Jeremiah, the fire of silence that was shut up in his bones could not be kept silent forever. Finally, through tears and the writing down of this song, he lets it all out; he asks God to give him the strength to go on. He ends the psalm by asking God to help him make a difference before he dies.
If you, like David, are going through or have gone through a hard time, recognize this: life is short! Before this beautiful life melts away like a moth eats away at clothes, before the vapor of life evaporates, before the breath of life is blown away, make a difference here on earth. Yes, life is tough. Yes, all of us have had drama, trauma and traumatic tragedies in our lives. But don’t waste the precious few days we have left, living and reliving the sins and pain from the past. Seek God for “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Great is God’s faithfulness.”