I would have despaired unless I believed

Psalm 27-13

I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage. (Psalm 27:13-14)

The psalmist David is easy to identify with. In Psalm 27 he wrote “I really would have given up had I not believed that God is good”. Isn’t it true that most of us would despair also were it not for God who comes to our rescue? Look at the faintheartedness of David: wicked people, enemies, war, trouble, loneliness, and being forsaken, false accusations, and cruelty.  I am sure that all of us at times have experienced some of these, and probably can add a few more to the list. A focus such as David’s can also keep us from going to pieces!

Yet, how many of us actually hold on to our troubles and do not wait on the Lord? We allow our worries to stew within us, to go around and around in our heads until we feel choked and strangled by them, yet repeatedly, the Bible tells us not to despair, worry or be anxious.  You say, “Well I’m just a worrier. It is in my DNA makeup”. You even worry about nothing at times.

A psychologist, speaking to an audience, used an interesting analogy using a glass of water to make a point about managing stress and worry. Everyone was probably thinking “Oh no, not the half empty, half full glass analogy again”. But as she raised the glass, she asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?” The weight really didn’t matter. “It depends on how long you hold it”, she said.  If you hold it for an hour, the glass will appear heavier, and your arm will start to ache. If you hold on to it for a day, you will begin to feel numb and paralyzed in your arm. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer you hold on to it, the heavier it becomes. The stresses of life are kind of like the glass of water. The longer you hold on to your negative thoughts and worries, the more fainthearted we get. After a while we can even become paralyzed, and incapable of functioning.

Surmounting opposition and negativity, and not to despair, is difficult at times. I am constantly reminded to “be anxious for nothing, and to fear not”. Still, allowing my mind to be captive to negative thoughts causes me to go around and around again in my head, and I worry. Sometimes I am incapable of hearing God, hearing only the noise in my head that says “if this were someone else, they’d sure be worried, so you should be also. Or if I don’t make ends meet this month, I am not going to be able to pay my bills. Then what? … What if I don’t have this or that?  How could I ever be happy again?”

But if we are to ever surmount our faintheartedness and worries, we need to discipline ourselves to earnestly seek God, and practice waiting on Him. Those are times when I must go to God and just say “I give it up to you, Father. I am helpless to know what to do. Take this situation from me and make it yours”. “Turn your burdens over to the LORD, and he will take care of you (Psalm 55:22, GOD’S WORD translation).

“Once we have made up our minds that God’s goodness is in operation, we will have far less difficulty in coping with the events of everyday life. Since He is in control, and since He is a good God, we can relax in His care. The Prophet Isaiah said, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee’ (Isa. 26:3). The way to become convinced of God’s goodness is to spend time with Him. ‘Wait on the Lord . . . and He shall strengthen thine heart.’ Get alone with God, and you’ll get over your fainting spell!” [1].

WAIT FOR THE LORD

Copyright 2016 by Bill Hutzel

 

FOOTNOTE

[1] Walk with the King, Daily e-Devotional, April 14