As a child, when I felt lonely, rejected, or sorry for myself, my mother would sometimes attempt to cheer me up by singing a popular ditty: “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me. I think I’ll go eat worms.” After a smile came from my downcast face, she’d help me see the many special relationships and reasons for gratitude I truly did have.
When I read that David felt no one cared for him, that ditty rings in my ears. Yet David’s pain wasn’t at all exaggerated. Where I had feelings of loneliness typical for my age, David actually had good reason to feel abandoned. He wrote these words in the dark depths of a cave where he hid from Saul, who pursued him with murderous plans (1 Samuel 22:1; 24:3–10). David had been anointed as Israel’s future king (16:13), had spent years in Saul’s service, but now he lived “on the move,” always fearing for his life. In the midst of the loneliness David felt, he cried out to God as his “refuge” and “portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5).
Like David, we can cry out to God when we feel alone, giving voice to our feelings in the safety of His love. God never minimizes our loneliness. He wants to be our companion in the dark caves of our lives. Even when we think no one cares for our life, God cares!
Lord, You are my friend when I feel alone. Thank You for being with me in the dark caves of life.
God is our friend in seasons of loneliness.
The heading to Psalm 142 says, “A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.” But we might also call this song “David’s cry.” The poetic imagery woven into the lyric rings with authenticity because it flows out of David’s actual experiences. Twice he fled to a cave in fear for his life. Few of us can identify with that situation literally, but nearly all of us can relate to David’s metaphorical cave of loneliness and despair. When he uses words like “cry” (v. 1) and “complaint” (v. 2), we know how he feels. His “spirit grows faint” (v. 3), a “snare” has been set for him (v. 3), and “no one is concerned” (v. 4). David even sees his dilemma as “my prison” (v. 7). Yet he knows the trustworthiness of the One he cries out to, and he anticipates a day when “the righteous will gather about [him]” (v. 7). He will not always be desperately lonely.
Does an emotional cave imprison you today? Consider writing out your thoughts in raw honesty and giving them to God. How might that kind of honesty change your prayers?