August 30, 2015 • Life for Leaders
But I trust in your unfailing love; I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD, because he is good to me.”
There are times when it’s fairly easy to trust in God’s love, to rejoice in his salvation, and to sing because he has been good to us. I think of times in my life when I was overwhelmed by God’s blessings, when I could hardly believe how good my life was. My heart was filled with thanks and praise.
Yet, there are other times, aren’t there? Times when life is hard, when sorrow fills our hearts, when we wonder if God is even there for us. In times of suffering and struggle, can we still trust in God’s love? Can we rejoice? Can we sing with gladness to him?
Psalm 13 answers these questions in the affirmative. If you only read verses 5-6, you might think that David, the composer of this psalm, was experiencing one of those seasons of obvious blessing. But, then there’s that word . . . “But.” It suggests a contrast between the trusting worship of verses 5-6 and the earlier portion of the psalm. Indeed, when we look back, we see that David is feeling forgotten by God (13:1). He is struggling with anguish and sorrow every day (13:2). He is seeing his enemies appear to prevail over him and he’s wondering how long this will go on (13:2-4).
But, in the midst of his desperation, David pauses to confess his trust and joy in God. He sings to celebrate God’s goodness in the midst of his suffering. How is this possible? First, David thinks back to times when God rescued him (13:5). He remembers that God has been good to him (13:6). These memories give David confidence to believe that God will rescue him yet again.
Second, David remembers what is true about God, that which is true regardless of David’s current experience. God has revealed himself to be a God of “unfailing love” (13:5). At times, it’s hard for us to understand the ways God expresses his love for us. Yet, the fact of God’s love is bedrock for our faith, indeed, for our very existence. This love, revealed most clearly in the cross of Christ, sustains us, encourages us, enabling us to trust the Lord and even to rejoice in the midst of hard times.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever found yourself like David, struggling with difficult and painful things in life, yet able to trust God and to rejoice in him? If so, what helped you to have such faith and joy? If not, what does this suggest to you?
What helps you to trust God even when your circumstances are negative?
Gracious God, thank you for David’s honesty in this prayer. There are times when it does seems that you have forgotten me, times when it feels as if you are looking the other way. I’m grateful for David’s example of honesty with you. It helps me to speak truthfully with you, rather than to put on a show of false religiosity.
Thank you for David’s example of trusting and rejoicing even in the midst of his struggle. Thank you for the times you have enabled me to have confidence in you though I was going through difficulties. Help me, I pray, to trust you no matter what, to rejoice in your goodness at all times. May I remember how you have blessed me in the past. And may my faith in you be built on the bedrock of your revelation in Jesus Christ.
Today, Lord, I pray especially for those who are struggling to believe, who wonder if you have turned away from them. Help them to have confidence in you. Reach out to them in your mercy. Lift them up by your grace. Amen.
P.S. An earlier version of this devotion appeared at The High Calling. Used with permission under a Creative Commons license.
Image: Piet Mondrian’s Wood with Beech Trees [Public Domain] via WikiArt.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.