Hope and Despair in a Single Sentence Written Thousands of Years Ago

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living.

David, King of Israel (Psalms 27: 13)

One sentence. Reverberating poignancy.

I encountered this verse when I was an in patient in a psych ward after going to the ER with thoughts (and sad as it is to say, plans) of suicide.

That’s not actually completely true. I had encountered this verse many times over the course of my life, but I had never actually shared a cup of coffee with this verse like I would an old friend on a crisp morning.

I woke up for the first time in years.

For longer than I could remember, I would tell people that I sleep just fine and, in all reality, I completely believed that I did. There was something so strange, though, about closing my eyes in a world in which my life was paused and then falling asleep. When I finally woke up, something was different.

I slept.

Sliding out from under the blanket I was given the day before when I was taken to the psych ward, I grabbed my bible to spend some time with Jesus. This is something that I do more often than not. It is not something I do out of duty or a desire to be spiritual or religious. I do it as a way of connecting with the deepest love my essence has ever known.

I hoped.

Hopelessness and despair had gripped my life for a long time. I felt as though I was caught in parallax, constantly drowning but never dying. Everything in my life seemed to be taking from me and I had no more me to give. When I woke up in that ward, my head clear, my heart at peace for the first time in years, I knew something was different.

No more despair!

I couldn’t move my eyes past this verse. I felt as though I was reading words in a book that were explaining my own heart to me in that moment. I was full of despair and now I was full of hope. This sense of evaporated despair had to come from something. Sleep helped a lot, but it only allowed me to clearly connect with the truth.

I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

I had not committed suicide. I was alive. Fully alive! And in this sentence from thousands of years ago I am coming to believe that in this life I will truly see the goodness of the Lord.

The Goodness of the Lord.

In this life.