WHO OR WHAT DO WE TURN TO IN TIMES OF DIFFICULTY? (Part 1)

In Psalm 86, David turns to the Lord in his time of distress and difficulty (“When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.” Psalm 86:7) and that is what we should do too!

Now that all sounds very religious and is what we would expect to hear from someone writing a spiritual posts, but have you ever tried “turning to the Lord” only to find that things still didn’t turn out the way you ask God to make them turn out? So, because things didn’t pan out the way “we wanted them to” we tend to assume that God is not real or he did not hear me, or this “trusting God stuff” just doesn’t work! Or, does it?

I will admit that sometimes I wonder if God really does hear me or if praying and asking God for help really works. As a human being we all have weaknesses such as doubt and a lack of faith & trust at times. So when things aren’t going the way we had hoped, why would we still trust God?

I find two things in Psalm 86 that help me to trust God, even when circumstances aren’t shaking out the way I had hoped. Here they are:

FIRST:

Maybe God is trying to teach me something!

In Psalm 86 David points out several things that are his responsibility in the situation:

  1. He admitted that he could not do it on his own – “…I am poor and needy.” Psalm 86:1b
  2. He was faithful (or committed) to the Lord – “Guard my life for I am faithful to you …” Psalm 86:2a; “…You are my God.” Psalm 86:2b
  3. He trusted God – “…save your servant who trusts in you.” Psalm 86:2b; “…for I put my trust in you.” Psalm 86:4b
  4. He realized he did not deserve God’s help – “Have mercy on me, Lord …” Psalm 86:3a; “…listen to my cry for mercy.” Psalm 86:6b
  5. He asked God for help – “…for I call to you all day long.” Psalm 86:3b; “Hear my prayer, Lord …” Psalm 86 6a

With these things in mind, I first take inventory of my own life to see if God is trying to teach me something:

  1. I am trying to fix this my way? Maybe God is trying to teach me to trust Him and not myself.
  2. Have I become complacent in my dedication to the Lord and allowed other things to take the place of God in my life? Maybe God is trying to draw me back to him and away from whatever has taken His place in my life.
  3. Do I really trust God to do what is best for me even if I do not like the initial outcome? Maybe God wants me to learn that having “what is best” sometimes means passing through the valley of difficulty to get there.
  4. Am I acting as if God “owes this to me” or that I am being cheated if God doesn’t make things turn out the way I want? Maybe God is teaching me to put His plan above mine.
  5. Do I only  talk to God, when I am in trouble? Maybe God just wants to hear from me & this is the only way to get me to talk to Him!

These are common ares of life that God has to work on regularly. Even David struggled with being totally trusting and committed to the Lord, even though he said what he did. Read what he says in Psalm 86:8-11:

“Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

You see, even David realized, that while in his heart he wanted to be the man he described in the first part of Psalm 86, he also knew he was not that man all the time and asked God for help. God loves us and knows our weaknesses. He still works His plan for our good so we can TRUST Him!

In part 2 we will examine the Second thing in Psalm 86 that helps me trust God, “What God Thinks about Me!”