All of us go through troubles in life. Sometimes our troubles can be painstakingly difficult to bear up under; adversities that push us downward into despair. These are the times we need a special grace from God. But most of the time, we have less serious problems or those that just accumulate that cause irritation, frustration, and discouragement. In fact, we almost always have a little something going on that we are dealing with or have shelved in the background. As a rule, we either have a problem, are coming out of a problem, or going into a problem.
Several years ago, while teaching a series of special church services a hospitable Christian married couple let me stay in their home. One afternoon, they shared with me that they never had a quarrel or an argument. I couldn’t help being impressed, but I was a bit suspicious because even the most harmonious married couples I knew had quarrels and disagreements. Ironically, the very next day I overheard them having more than a little spat in another room. Either my definition of bickering was inaccurate or this precious couple was living in denial.
In the Bible, King David had many enemies, political pressures, family problems, and past failures to deal with. He did not ignore his troubles. David knew how to face up to them. In the Psalms, David reveals his willingness to admit he had troubles and hardships. Variations of the word trouble or troubled is recorded in the Psalms at least forty-nine times. These admissions did not displease God or pollute David’s faith in anyway. On the contrary it strengthen his faith and confidence. I for one am grateful they are a part of the sacred text.
David was convinced if he would face up to trouble and seek God he would experience one or both of two things – comfort and intervention. David wrote, Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all (Psalms 34). Although the phrase out of them all is hyperbolic phrasing, it emphasizes the willingness of God to intervene, and it also gives us the permission to expect intervention in difficult and less difficult life experiences.
David was also convinced that God was willing to comfort him. David wrote many verses in the Book of Psalms of how God had comforted him when he was in trouble. I remember the first time I flew in an airplane: It was storming and I was not a little uncomfortable. The plane left the runway, climbing upward into the storm. Once the plane rose up above the clouds, to my surprise the sun was shining and the sky was amazingly bright and peaceful. The plane had lifted me above the storm. When we are in trouble, God will lift us above the clouds. The storm might still be raging, but eventually we will be resting peacefully in His presence.
Joseph C. Hutchison