No matter who you are, at some time in your life, hard times will come. Sometimes it will take the form of the loss of a job or bills that need to get paid. On occasion it can be as severe as losing a loved one or hearing from the doctor you only have a few months to live. Regardless of how small or large your trial may be, we all go through them.
David, shepherd boy, went through many times of ups and down. He faced days of joy and days of depression. One of these occasions was when Saul (the rejected king of Israel) wanted to hunt down and kill David. At one time in David’s life, David went to live with the Philistines. The irony of this was that just a few short years earlier; David had killed Goliath, the Philistine champion, with a small smooth stone and a sling. Now David needed to hide so he went to the Philistines and started to act insane. After some time, the Philistine king did not want David around as his advisors didn’t trust David. Not only was David on the run, but he had nowhere to go as well. It was during this time that he wrote Psalm 34.
Although this Psalm is too long for this blog, I encourage you to read it before going on.
What you see in this Psalm are some key areas where David relied on his faith in God. First, David acknowledges what God deserves, praise and worship. He says, “I will extol the Lord at all times, his praise will always be on my lips.” David’s response is in line with how Jesus taught his disciples on how to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed (holy) is your name…” David takes his first step out of the feelings of what he was going through. He gave God praise.
Then in verse 4, we see David seeking God. He took time to look for God.
“I sought the Lord and he answered me, he delivered me from all my fears.”
David continues to explain that “those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” He realized that by seeking God, there is no fear of judgment, no fear of failure, no fear of horrific situations. David knew that “with God all things are possible”. He recognizes that God is with him, through the good, bad and ugly. He then does something we have a tendency to forget. He tells others to try God out.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him”
When we go through trials and tribulations, the normal human reaction is to focus on our feelings. We fear because we focus on us rather than God. Remember Peter? When Peter was focused on Jesus, he walked on the water. When Peter focused on his surroundings he began to sink. Guess what? Jesus still reached out to Peter. In the same way when we focus on God, we take no regard for our feelings, we “walk on water” but when we focus on our problems, we begin to sink, feeling sorry for ourselves and become introverted, like a scared turtle in its shell.
David then tries to encourage others.
“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”
How many times are we ready to share what God teaches us while we are suffering? For most of us, David is an example of what we all should do; share our faith, especially when we are suffering. That, my friends, is the hardest thing we can do. We don’t feel like sharing our faith. We only want to share our suffering. But there is a satisfaction we receive from God when we share His work in our lives when we suffer. Paul describes it as, “In my weakness, God shows His strength.” How profound!
So how do we actually do this? We need to be conscience of what we say and how we feel. Although it is extremely difficult, here are some steps we can take to ensure we focus on God.
- Pray for others while we suffer. When we do this, we focus on what God wants to do in their lives rather than our own trials.
- Read His Word. Seek God’s face. Only He can give you the comfort you need.
- Meditate on what He says to you. This is not some strange chant while closing your eyes in a sitting, contorted position. It is simply a thought process. Think about what God is saying. Think about what He has done in your life.
- Praise God. Take some time to thank God for all He is doing. Thank Him for creation. Thank Him for your family. Thank Him for your suffering.
- Share your experience. Take some time to tell others about what God is teaching you. Make it positive. Let others know that even though you are going through some terrible situation, it is temporary and God is right there with you.
If we can take these simple steps, we will really see God’s work in our lives. God wants you to experience peace and joy, so praise Him in your suffering. Read in your suffering. Meditate and praise Him in your suffering and then share God’s Word with someone else. Maybe they need to see the love of God through your hard times.
God bless and encourage someone today.