Psalms 17; 35

Where Do You Turn When Times Get Tough?

“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.” ­– Psalm 17:6 NLT

David had been slandered, betrayed, hunted like an animal, abandoned, falsely accused, relegated to the life of a fugitive, humiliated, harassed, and almost killed numerous times. In other words, he had experienced some pretty tough moments in his life. Just like many of us. But what did he do when times got tough? David seemed to have a plan. He turned to God. He cried out to God. He poured out his heart to God. Sure, there were times when David took matters into his own hands, but more often than not, he turned to God. The Psalms are David’s personal journal to his heavenly Father, where he shares his most intimate and intense feelings. He pulls no punches. He doesn’t sugarcoat his feelings. His words are raw and honest. Because he seems to know that God is the only one who can help him in his time of distress. He doesn’t waste time telling his problems to someone else. He goes straight to the one who has the capacity and the compassion to do something about it.

David asks God to “hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from an honest heart” (Psalm 17:1 NLT). He tells God “I am praying to you because I know you will answer” (Psalm 17:6 NLT). David knows he can call out to God and get a response. The size of his problems are no problem for God. The number of his enemies isn’t an issue with God. David knows his God will rescue, vindicate, justify, restore, repay evil for good, set all things right, and prove David’s innocence. Now, that didn’t prevent David from giving God a few helpful hints as to how He might want to deal with his enemies, but at the end of the day, David was willing to let God do what was best. His job was to cry out. God’s job was to respond. And David was confident He would. And when He did, David promised to “tell everyone of your justice and goodness” (Psalm 35:28 NLT). He said, “I will praise you all day long” (Psalm 35:28 NLT). There was no doubt in David’s mind that God would intervene.

In a sense, you and I are living in a wilderness experience like David. We are aliens and strangers, fugitives, living in a hostile land relentlessly pursued by a merciless enemy. Yet we have been called by God and anointed with His Holy Spirit. We have been declared His heirs and children, adopted into His family. But we find ourselves constantly harassed by our enemy. He is out to destroy us. He wants us dead. Like David, we have been promised a place in the palace, but we are not there yet. We are living in the wilderness and we face constant struggles. So where do we turn? Who do we turn to when times get tough? Our finances? Our own abilities? Do we come up with our own plan of action? Do we attempt to save ourselves? David was learning that there was only one place to turn in the tough times. To God. Jesus said, “the thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10 NLT). He wants to give us life in all its fullness – overflowing with abundance. But we have to turn to Him. We have to rely on Him. We have to trust Him with our lives, even in the midst of these desert days.

Father, like David, I am slowly learning to turn to You. I am learning to cry out to You. But I have a long way to go. I am still tempted to take matters into my own hands and solve my own problems. Thank You for Your patience as You wait for me to wake up and realize that You alone are my source of fullness of life. You alone can rescue, restore and redeem my situation. Never let me forget that. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men