When it Comes to God, Should We “Fake it Till We Make It?”
Though David Tells God That He Is “My Refuge,” I Doubt David Feels It
Psalm 142 is a prayer of lament. David’s hiding in a cave, likely fearing for his life. He feels alone with no one walking alongside him or having any concern for him. He cries out that he has no refuge, no protective shelter, no safe place. Even though it seems his hideout in his cave provides a refuge, it’s a physical safety. Perhaps he also seeks a spiritual refuge. He feels he has none.
In his despair, he cries out to God. He writes, “I say, ‘you are my refuge,’”
Note that he doesn’t proclaim that God is “my refuge.” How could he do that when he just said he has no refuge? He merely says that he said it, not that he confidently believes that God is “my refuge.”
Push Through the Doubt
This reminds me of the phrase, “Fake it, till you make it.” I’m not sure how I feel about this adage when it comes to God and spiritual matters, or when it comes to anything, for that matter. But it seems that’s what David does.
Though he says God is my refuge, he doesn’t believe it. Not at that moment. But he prays it anyway. He’s pushing through his doubt, hoping to reemerge to find confidence in God again.
David isn’t being disingenuous in his prayer. He’s being honest—bluntly honest—as honest as he can be in that moment. He’s struggling to reach out to God amid despair and overwhelming opposition.
Intellectually, David may know that God is “my refuge,” but emotionally he’s not feeling it. Physically he’s not seeing it. Yet spiritually he pushes through. He cries out to God, saying words in faith that he can’t yet put his confidence in. When we’re struggling, hurting, or afraid, may we follow David’s example. Click To Tweet
But he knows he’ll get there. He knows that his weak prayer will move him from human doubt to godly confidence. And God, I suspect, patiently waits for David to get there, for David to get to a point where he moves from going through the motions to a place of faith, one where he can boldly proclaim, “You are my refuge!” (Psalm 142:4-5, NIV).
When we’re struggling, hurting, or afraid, may we follow David’s example.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.