We experience a lot of different negative emotions when we get hit with tough times in life. We very well may feel multiple emotions at the same time as our mind runs wild with fear, anger, doubt, depression, insecurity, etc. We probably felt the same emotions during the last distressful issue. We hate that because we hoped we were further along in our faith. And, isn’t it frustrating that when we get hit with one thing we get broadsided with another simultaneously?! For some unknown reason that always seems to happen – another boot drops.
It’s unfortunate but one thing we know for sure about this life: tough times occur. They are sprinkled (or showered) in with the good times. No one is exempt – no matter how much preventative maintenance we do we still get bushwhacked by the ways and waves of life. It might be sickness or disease, financial problems, mental problems, family issues, difficulties at work, coronavirus (can’t leave that out), or maybe you don’t even know why you are feeling so bad (that’s a really hard enemy to combat).
But there’s good news! There’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train. We have a stable, strong, secure, Savior who walks with us in our troubled times. He also will work actively in our lives in positive ways according to the will of the Father – even in the worst of circumstances. PLUS, Jesus knows exactly what we need. The challenge is to trust the Lord to not only be with us but also trust Jesus to work providentially and/or miraculously to help us. And, if we need to weather a storm and ride it out it makes all the difference in the world to have the Lord on board leading us.
The great King David of Israel wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Notice David does not write that the Lord took his problems away; rather, the Lord comforted David by being present with him as he walked through the valley of the shadow of death – like a loving, protective shepherd that cares for the sheep. It’s a good thing David didn’t get mad at God and turn his back on God in passive aggressiveness, right? Not that any of us would ever do such a thing when God doesn’t answer our prayers according to “our” will!
Read the reassuring Psalm 31 and then listen to an encouraging song by Tasha Layton called Into the Sea. Please know in advance that Psalm 31 is not a “take all my problems away immediately” psalm; rather, it is a psalm of running to the Lord in tough times rather than running away from Him. It even includes one of the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. David knows God is good even when we suffer. David knows that ultimately God will deliver him. Christians have even greater awareness and assurance of deliverance because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.