Betrayed, persecuted, grieving, uncertain, confused, abused, and struggling.
Can you identify with any of these words?
Most of us can, sometimes more than others.
Life is a struggle, and most days we feel the angst of living in a difficult world, with difficult people, under difficult circumstances. I think this is why God includes stories about real people in the Bible. Reading other people’s stories, the good, the bad, and the ugly, gives us perspective and, most important, hope.
King David was a man who experienced just about everything life can throw at someone. His memoir includes a humble beginning and an exalted ending. He came to faith early, and God used him in mighty ways to lead the nation of Israel. He also disappointed God greatly and lived much of his life with the consequences of his sin.
The book of Psalms records many of his soul-searching, gut-wrenching conversations with God. Psalm 71 is one of them. Listen to David’s cry:
“O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. . . . in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing. For my enemies are whispering against me. They are plotting together to kill me. They say, ‘God has abandoned him. Let’s go and get him, for no one will help him now’” (v 1,2, 9-11 NLT).
His example reminds us that it’s OK to pour out our hearts to God when we are distressed.
But Psalm 71 isn’t just a lament and cry for help. It’s a prescription for how to weather difficult circumstances.
Listen to David’s 4-step plan as outlined in verses 13-17:
1. Don’t lose hope. David expresses his commitment to trust God: “But I will keep on hoping for your help.” No matter what happens, we must never stop believing that God hears and answers our prayers.
2. Don’t stop praising God. “I will praise you more and more,” he says. “I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power.” Praising God reminds ourselves and others that God is good, even when our circumstances are not.
3. Don’t forget what God has done. “I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.” Reflect on the many ways he has worked in the lives of faithful men, and remember how he has worked in your own life. God’s long history of faithful care for his children strengthens our faith, because we know God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
4. Don’t stop sharing your faith with others. “I will tell everyone that you alone are just.” Sometimes when difficult circumstances enter our lives, we’re tempted to slander God with our words or our lack of faith. We must resist, choosing instead to take a faith stand and continue to testify of God’s goodness, no matter what.
If you’re betrayed, persecuted, grieving, uncertain, confused, abused, or struggling, King David’s four-step plan for weathering difficult circumstances is powerful and effective.
My prayer for you is that you will soon be able to testify, as David did,
“You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?
You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side” (v 19-21).
What about you? When you struggle, which examples from Scripture give you hope? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading via email, click here to visit Hungry for God online, scroll down to the end of the post, and leave a comment.