Has life been what you expected it to be when you were young? With all the possibilities that lay before you, did you see yourself where you are now? I suspect most of us need to stifle a foolish giggle at the thought.
Realizing that fact makes it easier for me to empathize with David. Can you imagine his expectations of what his life was to become?
David is introduced to us in 1 Samuel 16. God had rejected Saul as king over Israel. So Samuel, who fulfilled the role of priest, prophet, and judge, was sent by the LORD to anoint a new king. The LORD sent him to Jesse, using the ploy of offering a sacrifice, because "I have provided for myself a king from among his sons." Jesse and his sons were invited to participate in the sacrifice with the intended purpose of anointing one of the sons as king of Israel. Jesse did not include David in the group probably because of his young age and his job of watching the sheep. Samuel thought he knew who God would choose because of stature and appearance, but God had other requirements. We do not know David's exact age when the LORD had Samuel anoint him king of Israel, but he was apparently young.
Can you imagine what young David thought his life would be? I doubt it included the events leading to his prayers in Psalm 56-57. According to the title, 1 Samuel 21:10-15 is the basis for Psalm 56 and 1 Samuel 24:1-15 for Psalm 57. In both events, David is running for his life. Even though the LORD had chosen him and Samuel had anointed him, David was not yet king of Israel. Instead, Saul, the current king, was doing everything possible to kill David.
With that context in mind, let's look at David's cry to God. In both Psalms, David begins by asking for God's grace and mercy. He also describes his enemies and their efforts to destroy him. But in each Psalm, the majority of David's prayer is acknowledging that God is worthy of praise. He declares God to be faithful, steadfast, trustworthy, the light of life and God Most High who fulfills his purpose for me.
David doesn't ask why God is allowing this. Instead, with the touching statement in Psalm 56:8 (NLT), "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each in your book", David tells God "I know You know." Therefore, my trust, hope, and faith are in You.
When it seemed the promise God made to David had not occurred, it would be easy for David to question God. With all the promises God has made to me, I am ashamed to admit when I'm going through trying times, my prayers are often "Why?"
God Most High, who fulfills His purpose for me, forgive me for questioning You. I want to pattern my prayers after these of David. I exalt You. I worship You. I praise You. You are steadfast. You are faithful. You are trustworthy. I sing praises to You and give thanks to You, O God, above the heavens. Let all the earth glory in You. When I struggle with life, I know You know.