Read Psalm 57
Focus on verse 3
Oppression is a feeling that is sometimes difficult to discern. In my experience it has been similar to the way daylight fades in those long June evenings growing up in the Canadian prairies. You don’t really realize how dark it is until you suddenly realize that it is getting hard to see. Oppression is similar. You don’t really feel it coming until you realize it has arrived because everything feels heavy. I have not felt it for quite some time, perhaps because I am not currently in active church ministry. When I was in active duty as a pastor, I would typically notice it most somewhere around mid-October. Just like a dark heavy cloud settling around me, making it hard to be motivated, sapping my energy and making me grouchy. While I always found it difficult to identify when it began, it was usually easy to identify when it lifted. I remember one of the first times I notices this. I was in the kitchen after supper finishing up the dishes when I suddenly realized that the heaviness was gone.
I can imagine David felt the oppression of Saul when he was running from cave to cave in the wilderness as Saul was hunting for him with an army of several thousand men. This Psalm was apparently written during a time when David was hiding in a cave as Saul looked for him. “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” It is interesting to me that David recognizes that God is fulfilling “His” purpose for David, even during this difficult and oppressive time. David understands that God is not just randomly allowing things to happen.
When we feel oppressed, it is not only important that we cry out to God to be merciful and to save us, but it is critical to understand that this oppression that He has allowed us to experience is quite possibly part of His training program for us. Perhaps when we experience oppression we might even choose to be thankful, recognizing that He will not only pull us through it, but that He is fulfilling His purpose for us in the process. Ironically, when we praise Him for the oppression we are feeling, it often becomes the catalyst that begins to drive the oppression away.