I read an email the other day written by some folks that were having a tough time with a project they were working on for their ministry because they were getting all kinds of flak from people who wanted to see them fail. They were trying to do something good to honor the Lord and edify believers, yet it seemed to them that the people who treated God as an enemy were having their merry way and successfully side-tracking their best efforts.
That email made me think that all too often it’s easy for us as believers to get the idea in our heads that we’re facing our problems all on our own. It’s not that we loose faith in the Lord or think that God has abandoned us, we just sort of forget sometimes that God is involved at all. Then, later after the issue has passed and we realize that God has been at work, we see that He was there all along, but we didn’t realize it.
Take a look at this part of Psalm 17, which is a prayer from David:
[Psa 17:8-13 HCSB] 8 Protect me as the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings 9 from the wicked who treat me violently, my deadly enemies who surround me. 10 They have become hardened; their mouths speak arrogantly. 11 They advance against me; now they surround me. They are determined to throw me to the ground. 12 They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush. 13 Rise up, LORD! Confront him; bring him down. With Your sword, save me from the wicked.
One of the things that I love about reading from the Psalms is that David was a man who had learned to avoid that problem. He learned that lesson the hard way, but he learned it just the same. So, when David is staring down whatever inspired this Psalm, he doesn’t waste any time at all on worrying where the Lord is in his life. He’s learned to remember that the Lord is never far from him and is never disinterested in the people He loves.
That lesson is one that I think all of us Christians could stand to learn and learn well. Life isn’t fair, and bad things happen, but the Lord is good and the Lord is faithful. If we forget that, we end up trying to face our problems alone, and that isn’t a smart thing to do. If we learn to remember that God is always involved, hardships and bad circumstances aren’t such a scary thing anymore. Indeed, we can look at them, whether they be situations we’re stuck in or people seeking our harm, and like David we can have complete confidence that the Lord is in charge.
Look at the wording that David uses to describe his enemies. He calls them deadly and wicked and hardened. He points out their violence and their arrogance. He likens them to lions, which I can tell you from experience are some pretty intimidating beasts. As terrible as David’s enemies may be though, does he have any doubts about the Lord’s ability to deal with them? Nope. He doesn’t waste a moment asking something so ridiculous as whether or not God has the power to help him. David knows that the Lord is able and willing to save the ones He loves from wicked people, no matter how dire the situation looks.
If nothing else sticks with you after reading this, remember to remember the Lord. Remember that the Lord isn’t absent in your struggles and fears. Remember that the Lord is able and willing to take on whatever frightens you. Remember that even though the lions seem to be coming for you, the truth is that they have provoked the Lord, and even though they might not realize it, they have bitten off more than they could ever hope to chew.