Psalm 22 is the go-to Psalm when we have a bad day. How do I know this? Let me quote David, who wrote this Psalm …
But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! (v. 6, ESV)
Describing himself as a worm and being disliked by everyone does qualify as a really bad day!
In this Psalm, David writes verses of extreme frustration and desperation.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (v. 1)
When I read Psalm 22, I have a hard time thinking of a time in David’s life that would cause such desperation. When he was running from King Saul and confessing his sin with Bathsheba, David writes of finding help from God …
Running from Saul, David writes …
Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live (Psalm 63:3-4).
After his sin with Bathsheba, David cries out …
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions (Psalm 51:1).
Though I can’t place this Psalm to circumstances in David’s life, I admit that I have felt the same. I have bad days. They can happen without exact cause, and I think, “Did I do something wrong? Why are people mad at me?”
We all have bad days and understand this refrain from David’s Psalm …
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief (v. 2).
Before I get too mopey about my bad days, I confess that I find consolation in a great saint in the Bible having bad days. If King David had them, then I must not be so bad!
David, who writes joyous Psalms, also experienced extreme discouragement. The Bible is real, King David is honest, and in this authenticity, we find it okay just to confess, “I’m having a bad day.”
By writing Psalm 22, King David is verbalizing what we all ask in times of despair, “Why?”
Let’s consider Psalm 22 our “go-to” Psalm when we have a bad day. But as we read this Psalm, we make a discovery. It isn’t ultimately about King David’s bad days or our bad days.
This Psalm is about Jesus on the cross – the worst day of all.
My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing (vv. 16-18).
King David had a bad day, and we have bad days – but the Son of God having a bad day? Again, we ask the question, “Why?” And realizing the answer is in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins – we find hope.
Perhaps our bad days aren’t that bad.
With this understanding, in Psalm 22, King David turns from despair to God’s faithfulness. Perspective changes when bad days are compared to the worst day.
O Lord, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! (v. 19)
For He has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them but has listened to their cries for help (v. 24).
We will still have bad days, but there is victory in Christ, and someday …
The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him (v. 27).
If we take all the bad days of everyone who has ever lived and place them on the cross, we find grace and mercy, and not judgment, for our bad days.
The worst day for Jesus was the best day for us all.