All of us go through plenty of trouble in life: Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble (Job 14). Unfortunately like Job, sometimes our troubles can be very painstaking, difficult to bear up under; pushing us downward into discouragement and despair. Most of the time however, we have a lot of little problems that just accumulate, causing irritation and frustration. As a rule, we either have a problem, are coming out of a problem, or are going into a problem.
On the lite side and a bit humorous, while preaching a series of special services in a church many years ago, the pastor and his wife offered to let me stay in their home. One evening, they both shared with me that they never had a quarrel during their marriage; any real squabble between them. I could not help being impressed because even the best of couples I knew had their periodic little spats and disagreements. Ironically, the very next day I overheard them in a heated dispute in another room. Either my definition of serious bickering was inaccurate or this precious couple were living in denial.
Biblical 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’s poetic songs reveal his openness and 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, in fact 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 turn his face toward God he would experience one of two things; comfort or intervention. David confidently 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 hyperbole, 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.
We can also expect to be comforted when we are dealing with troubling issues. It is not a matter of having enough faith in God; it is a matter of having some peace about everything. It’s the need for comfort. David wrote of all those who would find peace and comfort in the Lord presence, He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalms 91). When David wrote about the secret place in this text and other passages in Scripture he was not referring to where we are, not a location, but Who we are with; it is finding a way to be in God’s presence. God’s presence is our peace and comfort in the time of 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, 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 may still be raging, but we will be resting peacefully in His presence.
Joseph C. Hutchison, Rochester Hills, Michigan, March 2019
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