We know the word of God is true and that He encourages us to trust Him, but until we have walked through the fire we haven't experienced the truth of His word. Many of you know exactly what I mean. Before difficult times ever came into our lives, we may have believed the word of God was true, but it hadn't been tested by our circumstances. But once we have experienced the faithfulness of God in our times of trouble, we can say along with David, "The Lord is my light and my salvation---whom shall I fear?"
Many hundreds of years later the Apostle Paul said a similar thing about the Lord in Romans 8:31, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Paul was another man who, like David, had walked through fiery trials but had found the Lord faithful.
These two men came from very different circumstances and had very different lives but they served the same Lord. David was a young man tending the sheep when Samuel came along and anointed him the future king of Israel. David was so humble that he went back to tending the sheep until he was called to play music for King Saul. For a while there it looked like he was going to inherit the throne because he became a mighty general in Saul's army and even married Saul's daughter. But jealousy entered Saul's heart and he persecuted David for about fifteen years, seeking to kill him. Yet during all that time David was kept safe by the Lord, because God was for him. Eventually the Lord took King Saul out of the picture and placed David on the throne just like He had promised. Though David failed miserably several times in his personal life, we find him repenting and coming back to God. Even then he still had several trials left to face. His little baby with Bathsheba died. Some of his own children turned against him. He had battles to fight against the enemies of Israel. But til the end of his life I believe David had a heart for God and he ended up dying peacefully in bed at the age of seventy. I don't doubt that his final thoughts in life were about God and what God had done for him.
The Apostle Paul was born into an upper-class family and studied under one of the best tutors. He was part of the very elite sect of the Pharisees and was moving up through the ranks, even faster than most men his age. Paul thought he was doing great things for the Lord when he persecuted the Christians. He was fairly prideful and self-righteous and believed his observance of the Mosaic law and his zealous persecution of Christians would gain him high favor with the Lord. But then one day he came face to face with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and he was humbled and overwhelmed. In spite of all the sins he had committed against the Lord's people, God wanted to offer him a better way of living. So for the rest of his life we find the Apostle Paul giving up everything from his former life to serve the living Lord. He trusted that no matter what came against him, God was for him. Ancient tradition tells us that the Apostle Paul ended up being martyred for the gospel but, just like David, I feel certain his final thoughts were about the Lord and about how faithful the Lord had been.
I doubt any of us will ever have to face being on the run fifteen years from a vengeful king, and most of us will never be called to gives up our lives for the gospel. But we do come face to face with troubles in this life. If we don't face them with the attitude of a King David or an Apostle Paul, our troubles might lead us to believe that God isn't for us. But He is for us! A God who didn't withhold His own precious Son from us has to be for us! If ever we have moments of doubt, all we have to do is look at the cross and what our Lord accomplished for us there. Who can come against the children of a God like that? Even when we walk through the fire, and even if we lose our lives, God will be with us. His grace is going to be be sufficient. He is going to provide exactly what we need every step of the way. I know many of my readers have faced terrible things in life, but wasn't God faithful? If you're still breathing, He's still being faithful. He's not finished with you.
We can't judge all our tomorrows by the way we feel today. We mustn't believe the lie that things will never get better. We can't judge the goodness of God by how dark the road looks right now. In this dark and fallen world, we must stand on the one thing we know to be true: the word of God. The word of God promises us that He loves us and is for us.
The Lord lights my way and saves me---
Why should I fear anyone?
The Lord is the One who protects my life---
Why should I be afraid?
When wicked ones come against me
To do me harm,
They are the ones who
Will come to harm.
Even if an army comes against me,
I won't be afraid;
Even if war breaks out all around me,
My trust will be in the Lord.
I only want one thing of God,
This is all that I care about;
That I can dwell in His house
Every day of my life,
That I can enjoy His beauty
And kneel before Him in His temple.
When days of trouble come
He will Hide me under His wings;
He will protect me from the wicked ones
And lift me up above the enemy.
Then I will rule over
Those who tried to hurt me;
I will shout for joy in victory;
I will sing and praise the Lord.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
Have mercy on me and answer me.
My heart tells me to seek You
And that is what I will do.
Don't ever close Your eyes,
Or turn from me in anger;
You are the One who helps me.
Do not leave me or forsake me,
For You are my Savior.
Even if my own parents reject me,
The Lord will be my Father.
Teach me to do Your will, Lord;
Lead me in the right direction
Because my enemies would love to see me fall.
Please don't let my enemy have the victory,
Because they do nothing but lie,
And they accuse me of things I didn't do.
My confidence is in this:
The Lord will give me good things in the future
And will bless me in this life.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and brave
And wait for the Lord.