Are you going through a time of distress, a season of frustration, fear, or feelings of hopelessness at the condition of our nation and our world? Don’t feel alone; you are in good company. The awesome thing about God’s Word is that we can always find direction, encouragement, and strength. The Psalms are full of examples of men, like David, who also dealt with such feelings.
The Psalms express such a wide range of emotions, that no matter what we are feeling, we can find a description there. Psalm 4 is one of those passages of Scripture that gives us instruction on how to work through some of these emotions.
“Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him” (Psalm 4:1-3, NIV).
David is in distress, but he knows where to turn: he cries out to God for mercy. David looks around and sees a world in which men “love delusions.” In other words, others are also in distress in his nation, but they look to the false gods of this world for help.
You know, we too can look to the world in our distress. We can turn to self-help books, drugs, and even false religions to quell the pain inside; or we, like David, can have faith that if we will cry out to God, He will hear us. If we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and seek Him in our time of pain and confusion, the Lord will meet us right where we are and give us instructions for how to overcome.
“In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord. Many are asking, ‘Who can show us any good?’ Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:4-8).
Rather than being angry and upset, or even blaming God, perhaps we should “search our hearts and be silent.” When we trust in the sacrifice that was made for us through the death of Jesus Christ, we can walk through difficult times with joy and peace. Faith doesn’t happen by default; we have to choose, as David did, to walk in it.
When others are looking around at the state of things and asking, “Who can show us any good?” I pray they can look to you and me and see the light, the joy, and the peace that come from knowing Him. We may face distress and trouble, but with the Lord in our lives, we can find a place of rest. We don’t have to give in to anxiety, fear, or feelings of hopelessness. Turn to the Lord and seek His face through worship and the Word of God.
Like David, your prayer may start with distress, but it can end with praise.