Psalms are poetic literature that express the widest range of human emotions. The psalmists bare it all – joy, betrayal, pain, regret, anger, disbelief, sorrow, fear, tenderness, gratitude, awe… The authentic, no-holds-barred, depiction of the inner life lived out in a broken world.
Historically, this text is thought to have been written by King David of the Old Testament in his old age. In it, King David looks back on his long life and recalls God’s faithfulness and proclaims who God has been to him through all circumstances.
I took the liberty of looking at it as a microcosm of human response in times of challenge. I imagined the conflicting cycle of emotions one goes through in seasons of loss and pain – trust/doubt/hope/fear – no matter what we profess and how strong we may appear on the outside.
I wanted to paint a sound picture of what was possibly happening in the author of the Psalm’s thoughts and emotions as he struggled through painful circumstances and fought to stay grounded. In reality, faith is not a straight line and can be fragmented – hence the different moods and themes for the sections.
In my own journey, it is easy to confess what I believe and to have a positive attitude when things are going well. But when the unexpected and seemingly unexplainable happens, those assumptions can be shaken to the core.
I tried to portray how the psalmist trusts his God, but still struggles with conflicting emotions and fear in the trauma of life. I have always been fascinated by the fact that despite being a “spiritual” person, King David had an honest enough relationship that he wasn’t afraid to complain to God, instead of keeping up appearances. I wanted to explore those feelings through the instruments of the piano and voice – that it is human to have conflicting emotions, and it doesn’t change who God is. The struggle can transform us into someone who is filled with gratitude, like King David, at the end of his life, or someone whose spirit becomes bitter. Perhaps that is where the true battle exists – in keeping our hearts tender.