There are real heartaches in this life from which we are not immune. One of the questions that trouble us sometimes is, “If God is good, why do I hurt?”
From time to time it is asked in other ways:
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- Why do the dishonest people prosper while ethical people take such a beating?
I can only imagine how much distress David was experiencing when he wrote Psalm 3. David’s very gifted son, Absalom, had betrayed him. He conspired against both David’s kingdom and his life. The numbers who joined Absalom had increased and they pursued David with disdain. He heard the taunts of his enemies saying, “There is no help for him in God.”
Yet, David was no novice in this battle. He had been chased before. He would not become a victim. A victim begs God to remove the problems of life so that he might be happy. David had always been a student of God. As a student he learned through the problems of life that God alone is the source of all that is good. David also discovered he could not live in yesterday, or even succumb to the troubles of the day. He knew God called him onward. David had a God given destiny.
We must do the same as David. The past is gone and we can’t go back. Don’t try. The voice of God calls us onward toward tomorrow. Several years ago, I learned that if I want tomorrow to be better than today, I must make choices like “today” mattered. Spiritual progress goes like this: Even if we want to go back and change things, we can’t. Additionally, we can’t stay where we are. God’s call is always onward, forward and moving out by faith into the future. This is not easy, but it must be done. David found profound encouragement in three strong confessions of his safety, reputation and hope! But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3 (ESV)
David mentions three important areas in this passage in which he’s relying on God.
- “Shield” – This is a symbol of God’s protection, of security found only in God. But the fact that God is a shield does not prevent one’s enemies from continuing to shoot their arrows. Yet such an attack is fruitless in cutting us off from the security of God’s love.
- “Glory” – This is about honor, dignity, reputation. David’s outward honor and glory as king was gone. Even though he had to flee in his own kingdom, he knew God was his true glory. He’s confident that God will restore his dignity and honor as king.
- “Lifter of my head” – This is about the emotional effects of God’s presence in our lives in the midst of difficulties. Even when our head is hanging low in despair, God is there to lift it up and help us see a hopeful future. David left Jerusalem not only defeated but dejected, despondent and depressed. He hung his head in shame but he is still confident that God will elevate his face and restore his hope.
Too often we rely on circumstances for our security and happiness
Too often we rely on circumstances for our security and happiness. If things are going our way, then life is good. We like people approving of us and liking us. Consequently, we’re tempted to rely on popularity, status, or the esteem of others for our reputation and honor. Our emotional strength is often found in self-sufficiency and personal success. Fulfilling our personal goals and dreams becomes a placebo of courage. Evaluate those things you’ve come to rely on for security, glory, joy and peace. What needs to change to and make the Lord the center of your world?