A Blessing in Despair – Psalm 3

PsalmsToday’s guest post, A Blessing in Despair – Psalm 3, written by Anthea Kotlan first appeared on antheakotlan.com.

How can I find a blessing in the midst of despair?

Amid the Covid 19 pandemic, in the Fall of 2020, discouragement began closing in on me. Numerous cancellations and endless disappointments piled high. My father, a nursing home resident, had been placed in hospice care. For the first time in my life, none of my family in England could visit, nor could I travel there.

The heavy load of grief threatened to capsize me.


Days after he died, I felt desperate to be with my British family. However, none of that was possible. Regular visits to see my family in England were a fixture in my life. For the first time in my life, going home was no longer possible.

Sadness, grief, disappointment, and fear weighed me down. Would I ever be able to see my extended family again? Looking back now, this seems absurd but at the time, so much in my life felt uncertain. As my father’s only surviving child, I longed to sit with his siblings and share stories about his life.

“The Blessing”

About a week later, I scrolled across a video (“The UK Blessing”) of a group of singers from all over the United Kingdom performing a cover of “The Blessing.”  This song, written by Kari Jobe (and others), struck a deep chord inside me.

The Lord bless you

And keep you

Make His face shine upon you

And be gracious to you

The Lord turn His

Face toward you

And give you peace

Amen, amen, amen

Amen, amen, amen

I must have watched and listened to this song on repeat for days. Different groups of people from all over the British Isles sang different portions of the song. Hearing the variety of accents felt deeply meaningful as my family of origin represents people from all over the UK. Seeing the name of each church and recognizing the locations brought back so many memories of home.

He is for you

One verse of this song strengthened my weary heart.

In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for you
He is for you, He is for you

“He is for you.” This truth I needed to hear on repeat.


In Psalm 3, I read about David being surrounded by his enemies. I picture him on the battlefield dodging an oncoming swarm of invaders. Somehow, they slip around and begin threatening him on every side. He cries out for rescue because he knows the Lord is for him.

I am not, and was not, on a military battlefield.

Were David’s enemies found only on the battlefield?

The enemy of my soul would prefer for me to believe David’s opposition was primarily military. Still, time spent in the Psalms reveals how David struggled with various enemies.

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual

Enemies ambushing my heart can be just as dangerous as a physical threat.

Unseen enemies of my soul can wreak havoc on my spiritual life.

Soul Tending Checkup

Perhaps a soul tending check-up is in order today?

As I examine my heart, what is troubling me?

In this season of my life, who are my enemies?

What strategies does the enemy of my soul use in my life?

  • The harsh voice of my inner critic speaks loudly in the dark of isolation.
  • Temptations to take shortcuts, try quick fixes, and participate in gossip sneak up.
  • My perceptions or snap judgments (this is not fair, they don’t like me, no one is giving me that opportunity) provide a chorus of discouragement and dissatisfaction.
  • Challenges of daily life: missed calls, unexpected repair bills, medical diagnoses
  • Fear, anxiety, and endless uncertainty in a post-pandemic world.
  • Mushroomed misunderstandings start small and rapidly network into a wall of offense built up brick by brick.

How about you?

When I feel surrounded, Psalm 3 can be a powerful prescriptive prayer to examine my soul. A prayer like this can re-align my heart with God’s truth.

1 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;

2 many are saying of my soul. “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah

(Psalm 3:1-2 ESV)

When I feel surrounded, I lose sight of God’s abundant provision, especially the precious gift of my salvation.


Lord, help me to turn to you when I feel surrounded. Please help me to hear your voice and silence the voices of those who accuse me.  

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.

(Psalm 3:3-4 ESV)


Thank you, Heavenly Father, you hear me and protect me. You can lift my head and allow me to gain renewed perspective I don’t have without you. You can always see and hear me from your holy hill.

5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. (Psalm 3:5-6 ESV)


Lord, I can rest and sleep knowing you are watching over and protecting me. It is far too easy to count up the agents of opposition, but even if a thousand come against me, You are always so much more.

7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.

(Psalm 3:7 ESV)


Lord, thank you for doing battle for and in my place.  I don’t have to figure out how to fight because You do it for me and have such effective battle plans.

8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

(Psalm 3:8 ESV)


Lord, you have given me the gift of salvation. You have put your blessing on me.

In the final two verses of the song, “The Blessing,” says,

May His presence go before you

And behind you, and beside you

All around you, and within you

He is with you, He is with you

In the morning, in the evening

In your coming, and your going

In your weeping, and rejoicing

He is for you


While I may feel surrounded by the enemy of my soul, I am surrounded by God’s presence all day and all night, wherever I might go. He goes before me, beside me, and behind me. For this truth, I give thanks today to the Lord. Amen

Here’s the link to listen to the “UK Blessing” on YouTube.


 Anthea KotlanFor over thirty years, Anthea Kotlan has served as a women’s ministry leader in the church and community. She has a passion for discipleship and encouraging women to walk confidently in their God-given calling. She designs women’s retreats, teaches Bible studies, writes, and enjoys speaking at events. Recently, she began serving on a church plant team in Conroe, Texas with her husband, a bi-vocational priest. Every chance she gets, she spends time laughing with her two adult daughters or snuggling her two grandchildren. Check out Anthea’s blog for weekly soul-tending devotionals from the Psalms. antheakotlan.com 

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