A friend when you need him

A number of our friends have gone through hard times recently – family problems, deaths, jobs lost.

Many people – even some Christians – ask where God is in these times.

For Christians, the answer is that God is with us. Christ said so himself in Matthew 28:20: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I need to remind myself of this constantly. Compared to most people, I have led a life that has been relatively free of heart-wrenching trouble. I am much blessed.

But even so, there were times when I grappled with hard issues at home, at school, or at work.

Sometimes, these problems seemed overwhelming. In my case, I tended to retreat inside, letting the world swirl around me.

But God didn’t want me to wallow. He wanted me to get up again – and lean on him even more.

In Psalm 40:2, the psalmist David says it well:

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”

David had lots of experience of desperate situations. Early on, his royal master King Saul tried to kill him; he fought countless battles; and, toward the end of his life, his son Absalom briefly overthrew him as king.

Through these stormy times, David constantly turned to God. He knew he did not have the strength on his own to go on.

That’s the thing. God considered David “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). Why?
Because the King of Israel sought God night and day, depended on him.

I am not claiming that there is a romantic Hollywood ending to every bad event. There wasn’t in David’s life.

But David’s deep trust in God and his passionate desire for more of him have inspired billions of people since his death. It is the character of David – forged through hard times – that stands out as brightly today as it did in his own day.

Right after talking about being lifted out of the pit of despair in Psalm 40, David says: “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.”

As I’m wading through troubled waters with Jesus at my side, I can look forward to singing my own hymn of praise to God some day.

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