David makes a simple observation in Psalm 28 that has stuck with me for a couple of weeks now, so perhaps it is important…
He writes, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me,” (Psalm 28:7).
Now, I don’t know if David believed this when he wrote it and was just stating a fact or if he was struggling with a heavy heart, as he often did, and was rehearsing truth in order to make his heart believe it… (I tend to assume the latter because a) verses 1-3 communicate David is in distress, and b) I am, as it turns out, a pessimist.)
In any case, I’ve been pondering the second half of verse 7 for a few days – my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. In other translations it reads David’s heart currently trusts in God, and David is helped.
I guess there is a possibility the two ideas – David’s trusting and David’s being helped – were meant to be independent of one another, but experience tells me they usually aren’t.
When my heart has trusted in God in the past, I’ve been helped. Rarely, if ever, have I been helped while my heart was distrusting God. And by “helped” I mean emotionally stabilized and encouraged, not God gives me all the solutions to all of my challenges.
Interpreted that way, the verse presents us a very simple rule of thumb:
Simple. Not easy.
The truth is it’s hard for us to trust God most of the time. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Our feelings are loud and our circumstances are pressing and God is invisible and His timetable is not
usually ever the same as ours… and we begin to question, quietly, in the corners of our souls where we don’t want church people to see, does God really have my best interest in mind?
The great theologian, Bono, once said, “What you don’t have, you don’t need it now.” But it sure feels like we need a lot of things and people we don’t have… It feels like God has maybe lost track of our needs… let them slip through the cracks…
And it’s when we are feeling like this that we have a choice. Do we want to be helped, or do we want to be hindered? It’s up to us, really. No one else can make the choice for us.
If we want to be helped, “all” we have to do is trust in God. God says He will meet all of our needs. Period. We have to resolve to believe Him (and Bono). If we don’t have something, it’s because we don’t actually need it. Not yet, anyway.
A final word: I suspect some of you might say to me, “I want to be helped. I want to trust God… I just don’t. And I can’t fake like I do…” I know. I lived as a hostage to my own limitations for many years (and frequently revisit that mindset, just to say hello…).
Something that freed me up in moments like that is this instruction: go to God and tell Him, “I want to trust You, but I don’t. Please help me trust You.” That’s it. You don’t have to pretend like you trust Him when you don’t – that’s exhausting, and He knows the truth anyway. Just sit before Him with a transparent heart, and ask Him to help you.
In fact, you might not even want to trust Him right now… maybe you’re hurting and want to hang it all up. Go to Him and tell Him just that – that you don’t want to trust Him – and ask Him to help you to want to trust Him… the crazy thing is, He will. And once He gives you the desire to trust Him, even though you don’t, then you can ask Him for the trust itself.
Whatever your next step is on the road to trusting Him more, as David wrote in verse 7, God is your strength to move forward.