The whole of Psalm 30 reminds me of a boxer. I imagine a man beaten and bruised. Slumped into his corner between rounds in a fight where the odds are against him. Looking across to the opposite corner, the opponent looks untouched, relaxed. He smiles. But we are broken. Uncertain if we can stand up to enter the ring for the next round. And yet in that brief moment before the bell rings for the next round, our coach -- perhaps our God -- says something to us that renews our strength.
The Psalm begins, "I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me."
When has God drawn you up. When have you found the strength to fight on when the odds are against you? That this type of Psalm says something profound about the spiritual life. We have not chosen Christianity because we saw it as the best way to become successful. We instead find ourselves in a corner with our God between rounds. Our relationship with the one who can draw us up is all that keeps us going.
On a personal note, I am not in the corner needing encouragement this week. I am in the corner with someone I love who has been knocked down with an unexpected illness. This one needs to be drawn up. I pray for the right words and that my presence might be comforting. I pray for the God who can draw this loved one up.
The third and the ninth verse says something about being in the pit or Sheol.This being the season after Easter, I am reminded of what the Saturday before Easter is all about (no, not egg hunts). It's about Jesus Christ going into Hell (Sheol) and proclaiming good news and release to the captives there. Some churches have a special Easter vigil to remember the line from the Apostles' Creed, "he descended into hell." What does it mean to us? It means that Christ's resurrection was for everyone. Even those who are broken in the pit, can be drawn up.
Oh, one more thing; Simon and Garfunkel sang Psalm 30:
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains, mmm mmm
( The Boxer, Paul Simon 1970)
For more on Psalm 30 see: https://billkemp.info/content/whats-it-god