After facing an intimate betrayal, or any other trial for that matter, we all have to figure out how to trust God in difficult times. We’re tempted to believe that when life is hard it’s somehow an indication that God has abandoned us, or that He is untrustworthy. But it is a lie. In times like these, passages like Psalm 37 offer encouragement, hope, and a wonderful model around which we can build prayers to calm our anxious hearts. The Psalm 37 message teaches us to delight in the Lord, it reminds us of the ultimate fate of both the wicked and those who choose to follow God, it reassures us that the Lord is fighting for us, but most important, it shows us exactly how to trust God in difficult times.
* Before we start breaking this passage down section by section, it might be a good idea to read the whole chapter of Psalm 37. While we will be quoting a lot of it as we proceed, some parts will be cut out in order to keep this simple.
Don’t worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
I don’t know about you, but for me one of the biggest road-blocks between me and trusting God in difficult times is confusion. It’s hard to understand this twisted, fallen, broken world and the people that make it that way. I have a hard time trying to reconcile a good and loving God with the hurt and dysfunction we encounter day in and day out. It’s hard to figure out who my enemies are, and who I can trust. Who is good, and who is wicked?
When I discovered my love’s betrayals I went through a time when I felt as if I had to figure out if he was wicked, as this passage describes, or if he was simply tormented by the wicked (as in the evil forces of darkness). The weight of it consumed me. How could I know for sure?
But the Psalm 37 message put those anxieties to rest. See, you and I don’t need to worry about the wicked. WE don’t need to figure it out. We can simply trust in the Lord and focus on living in obedience to Him. He will take care of the wicked.
Our role in all of this is to find a way to delight in the Lord, but obviously, when the world is crumbling around us that isn’t always easy. Thankfully, God doesn’t change when our circumstances change. He is the same great God in the valleys of life that He was on the mountaintops. What delighted me about Him on the good days is still true of Him on the bad, and when my delight is in the Lord, I find that the desires of my heart suddenly begin to align with His own.
How to Trust God in Difficult Times
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land..
Betrayal has a way of making us feel like we need to defend ourselves, doesn’t it? How could we not feel as if we’re under attack? The very nature of what has happened IS an attack on the things we hold most dear.
But part of trusting God is learning to let go of those impulses to defend ourselves. We don’t have to argue our case. In fact, we’re far better off if we don’t. Think of Jesus after He was betrayed by Judas. As He stood before His accusers, what did He do?
He stood silent.
We’re called to follow His example. We’re told to be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.
The thing is, Jesus’s silence led Him to the cross! As He waited patiently for the Lord to act, He had to suffer the greatest agony any person has ever suffered. That’s scary. The reality of it doesn’t exactly make trusting God in difficult times an easy task.
Three days later Jesus dealt the death blow to wickedness! Because He was willing to trust God and wait for Him to act, you and I have the opportunity to be saved!!!! As a result of His willingness to commit everything He did to the Lord, sin and death hold no power! His innocence does indeed radiate like the dawn and, as promised, the wicked will be destroyed because of His obedience.
Even though that is a POWERFUL truth, it still isn’t easy for me to be still in the presence of the Lord. I’m not exactly one to be patient and wait for Him to act by nature. I’m a take charge kinda girl. I like to see results… and quickly! If they’re not happening on their own, I’ll do what I need to do to make things happen.
Sometimes it feels like God doesn’t understand how urgent my situation feels to me.
But friends, none of that is right. God does understand, and He is acting. When we surrender to His will the results are far better than when we bulldoze our way through to get results. All I can do is fall on my knees and ask Him to help me.
“Lord, quiet my heart.”
It is better to be godly and have little
than to be evil and rich.
For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
but the Lord takes care of the godly.
Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent,
and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.
They will not be disgraced in hard times;
even in famine they will have more than enough…
My Delight is in the Lord
Earlier I touched on the importance of being sure my delight is in the Lord. It’s an important aspect of learning how to trust God in difficult times. The passage said that when we delight ourselves in Him, He’ll give us the desires of our heart. As the Psalm 37 message continues, we have to circle back to that delight.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Did you see it? There’s that word delight again, only this time we’re told that it’s God who delights in us! The intimacy of this passage gives me chills.
The Lord delights in every detail of our lives! My weary soul takes such great comfort in knowing there is someone out there who DELIGHTS in me. Not just someone, the God of the universe delights in the details of my life! What joy there is in that truth!
And because God is involved in the details, I am safe and secure. I love to imagine my hand firmly grasped by my strong Heavenly Father. I love to think of the difficult times in life as a sort of stumble, and to picture His hand lifting me in the air like a toddler holding onto her daddy’s hand. As I fly into the air, I squeal with… you guessed it… delight!
Because even when I’m falling, when I’m in my Father’s hands there is joy. What a comfort that is!
Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
The godly always give generous loans to others,
and their children are a blessing.
Prayers for an Anxious Heart
Earlier I said that as we’re learning how to trust God in difficult times, Psalm 37 can offer a wonderful template to help us craft some prayers for an anxious heart. We can use the words of this amazing Psalm to guide us as we seek to delight ourselves in the Lord. Let’s look at this next section of Psalm 37 and then offer a prayer inspired by its words.
Turn from evil and do good,
and you will live in the land forever.
For the Lord loves justice,
and he will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever,
but the children of the wicked will die.
The godly will possess the land
and will live there forever.
The godly offer good counsel;
they teach right from wrong.
They have made God’s law their own,
so they will never slip from his path...
Put your hope in the Lord.
Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
You will see the wicked destroyed.
“Heavenly Father, we need Your help as we seek to honor You. Help us to turn from evil and do good, and we humbly ask that You would help those we love to do the same. We know you’re passionate about justice, so as we put our faith in You and are covered in the righteousness of Jesus, we’re counting on You to keep Your promise to never abandon us. We’re counting on You to keep us safe.
Help us to seek You through Your Word. Make it as precious to us as the air we breathe. As we make Your law our own, give us the wisdom to offer good counsel to those who come behind us so that we can help to teach them right from wrong, especially when it comes to our children!
Lord, our Hope is in You! Help it to stay there. Teach us to abide in Your presence. Show us how to be still before You and wait patiently for You to act. Help us to travel steadily along Your path for us. Keep us from rushing ahead in our own strength or lagging behind in fear and doubt. Help us to never grow complacent when things settle down and the “crisis” has passed, but keep our progress steady so that we will win the race! And as we obey, Lord, keep Your promises to us. Honor our obedience by giving us the desires of our heart. Allow us to see the wicked destroyed – to see their power and influence in our lives absolutely demolished! Give us the victory Lord because of Your great name! In Jesus’s Name we pray, amen.”
Trusting God in Difficult Times
I have seen wicked and ruthless people
flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
But when I looked again, they were gone!
Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
Look at those who are honest and good,
for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
But the rebellious will be destroyed;
they have no future.
The Lord rescues the godly;
he is their fortress in times of trouble.
The Lord helps them,
rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
and they find shelter in him.
Rescue us Lord! Teach us how to trust God in difficult times. Be our fortress in times of trouble! Help us. Save us. We find shelter in You. Now and forever. You are our delight and our salvation. We love You!