Bad Stuff, Deep Trust – Reflection on Psalm 56

Psalm 56:1-13

Stuff Happens

Bad things happen. How do you respond? What do you do when life doesn’t work out the way you want? What’s your reaction when someone actively seeks your destruction? Perhaps destruction is too strong of a word. Maybe somebody tries to destroy your reputation, limit your opportunities, or steal your thunder. What do you do? Where do you turn?

Life doesn’t always go as planned. Stuff happens. Sometimes bad stuff happens. You find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time or end up a victim of circumstances beyond your control. What’s your response?

We trust God of course. Well, perhaps. In the good times, we know God has our back, he is with us, and will never let us down. We believe that we are trusting God, but those are the good days. But there are other days.

Sometimes I wonder about our trust talk. When the going gets tough, our actions speak volumes. Rather than turning to God, we may find other options to get us through difficult days. We say we trust God, but we may take matters into our own hands.

In Stuff We Trust

Our contemporary and first world culture provides access to more resources than ever. History has never seen a time or a people with more resources than we have. With so many resources at our fingertips, we have options. God is on our list of options of course, but so are our bank accounts, credit cards, and other modern conveniences.

David had resources as well. As a king, he had power, an army, wealth, and military strength. Yet, he didn’t always draw on those resources. He had opportunities to kill Saul when Saul was trying to kill him. He had could have quieted opposition, but he didn’t (2 Samuel 16:5-13; 2 Samuel 19:16-18).

David could have taken matters into his own hands, but instead, he placed his complete trust and future into God’s hands. In putting his complete trust in God, David gave God space to do what God wanted to do, even when it meant leaving Jerusalem in tears (2 Samuel 15:30). Trusting God doesn’t mean life will go smoothly.

Trust on Display

David knew what it was like to have his enemies work against him. Given David’s position in life, from time to time, someone would try to fight against him. David says his enemies are trampling him, lurking around, stalking him, wanting to take his life. They desire David’s demise, so they stir up strife and seek to injure his cause. David’s enemies actively work against him.

This psalm reflects David’s reality and trust. We can say how much we trust God, but difficult times put trust on display. How we respond to bad circumstances or bad people reveals where we place our trust. Many times, we place our trust in our abilities or resources.

Authentic Trust

David knew that God was his protection. He knew taking matters into his own hands was futile. Even though his enemies were looking to destroy him, he knew God was with him. God would not forsake him in his time of need. David’s trust was authentic.

Not only did God protected him, David knew that God cared for him. God saw his tossing and tears. I love the thought that God collects our tears and places them in a bottle. God sees our sadness, our frustrations, our pain. David knew this and it fueled his trust.

Where Hope Lives

David’s trust in God brought him hope. He knew he would be delivered. He knew God would come through. He might not know how he would be delivered, but he knew he would be okay.

Our resources aren’t as secure. Will what we trust in be there in our time of need and fear? We may outlive our money. We may overextend our credit. All the resources we’ve come to depend on may end up leaving us high and dry.

That’s the problem. Deep within we know this. As much as we rely on these resources, we know how easily they can be wiped out. We have placed our hope and trust in broken vessels and we know it.

When we cultivate a deep trust in God, we know that no matter what happens, God will deliver us. Even though circumstances may not be what we want or like, we will survive and thrive because God is with us. God will deliver us and keep our feet from falling so that we might walk before him in the light of life.

The Message to Us

Trust is tough. We have to discern when we are to use the resources God has blessed us with, and when we are to stand back and allow God to do what God desires. Sometimes trusting God means we will suffer setbacks. While we could take matters into our own hands and get our desired results, God may call us to wait. With so many options beckoning for us to trust them instead of God, will we take matters into our own hands or turn our attention and trust to God?

Hope comes from deep trust in the only One who will never leave us. When we cultivate such a deep trust we will be able to say, “For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life.” May you discover such a trust.

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