Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Lately I feel like I’m walking in the midst of trouble. Most of the trouble isn’t in my own home– aside from some migraines and three children who act, as far as I can tell, like normal siblings, things are pretty okay around here. But I look around me and see so many people walking such deep valleys. Health problems. Death of loved ones. Painful anniversaries. Relationship issues. Fears about the future. Financial concerns.
And then there’s the world outside my own personal circle, which makes me cringe with– disgust? Anger? Confusion? I don’t know.
The truth is, there will always be valleys for us to find our way through. There will always be dark places where the light barely shines. We can learn to face those times with faith and courage, knowing that God desires to use every single experience for our good, but that doesn’t mean that we are never afraid, uncertain, lonely, troubled.
I love Psalm 138, where David’s song of praise and thanksgiving ends with assurance that God cares for him, even in the midst of hard times.
First, David expresses his rock-solid faith that God would preserve his life. Is this a faith we can share? Of course we can’t guarantee that our physical life will be preserved in every trial. Some of us bear wounds that speak to the loss of loved ones, people who loved the Lord but still died. But we can surely say with David, You will preserve my life, knowing that we who believe are guaranteed a life that no physical death can touch. We are guaranteed forever with God. We are guaranteed life, here and now, that is abundant. So we can walk forward, trusting, as David did, that God who promised us life eternal and life abundant is always actively working to preserve that life, to keep us growing and even thriving in the valley times.
David next expresses his faith that God would protect and deliver him from his enemies. This also is a faith that we can share, for though our enemies might be very different from David’s, God has promised us victory over our Adversary, and strength to stand against his temptations, his tricks, his lies. I often discover that my own flesh is also my enemy, so that I cry with Paul, Oh wretch that I am! Who will save me from this body of death? The truth is, I already have the answer to that question– it is Jesus, whose name means Savior, who came to save his people from their sins. The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, saves me daily from the power of sin in my life, so that I can have victory over my enemy and deliverance even from my own sin nature.
Finally, David expresses his faith in God’s purpose. David, unlike many of us, knew very clearly from childhood what God’s calling was: he was to be the king of Israel. Nevertheless, I imagine there were times when he was tempted to question God as the years dragged on with no throne, no crown, no peace. Yet time and again, David showed his strong faith in the God who had called him, and here he bases his faith in God’s purpose in what he understands of God’s love. The love of God is steadfast, unchanging, eternal, faithful. David walked with God, chased after His heart, and knew that He was entirely trustworthy. And we can know this too! The more we walk with God, the more we open the Bible, read it, meditate on it, pray over it, obey it, the more we discover the firm reality of the steadfast love of God. And the more we can trust Him to fulfill His purpose in our lives– purposes for our good, always.
David walked in trials, but he had a deep, unshakable faith in God, a faith based in experience and a loving relationship. He knew that He could trust God’s preservation, protection, and purpose, and so he could walk confidently through every dark time, every wild jungle, every desperate heartache, every chaotic storm.
We can have this same confidence in the God who never changes. He is faithful. His steadfast love endures forever without diminishing, regardless of our own faithfulness, or woeful lack thereof. My friend, if you’re walking through trouble today, there is hope. Have faith in the God who loves you with unchanging, steadfast love.
We are the work of His hands– His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for a particular purpose.
Forsake not the work of Your hands.