Four Things to do when Facing Hardships
There are four common foes we can face when we go through hard times: fear, hopelessness, pain, and uncertainty. Experiencing all four at the same time can be suffocating, blinding, deafening. When your marriage or finances are in a tough spot, or when someone significant in your life has passed away, or when you are facing problems at work, it can feel overwhelming.
In Psalm 27, David gives us four things to do when we face hardships. Many scholars believe that Psalm 27 was written in the context of David’s flight from King Saul. Certainly in this conflict with Saul, and in many other conflicts throughout his life, David understood plenty about fear, hopelessness, pain, and uncertainty.
Let’s take a moment to look at the four things David says we must do when facing hardships.
1: When Facing Fear – BELIEVE (Psalm 27:1-3)
- Fear is powerful and can be crippling. It can cause us to lose our way. It can suffocate us. It can blind us as to how to proceed. It can deafen us to God’s voice.
- When facing fear, David challenges us to reaffirm, restate and review what we truly believe.
- I agree with David when, in the face of fear, he says: “God is my light and my salvation!”
- LIGHT dispels darkness.
- Fear creates darkness and discouragement but God dispels darkness! He is our LIGHT!
- SALVATION equals victory.
- It means victory over our enemies, like the foes of fear, hopelessness, hurt, and uncertainty.
- LIGHT dispels darkness.
- What do you believe about your circumstances – and about God? Is God your LIGHT and your SALVATION? Are your problems bigger than your God, or is your God bigger than your problems? What you believe about God and your relationship with Him goes a long way in determining how you handle hardships.
- Whatever is going on right now, don’t give up! Believe and trust Jesus to be your LIGHT and your SALVATION. Jesus is perfect and pure. He loves us and wants the best for us.
- Don’t let FEAR determine your steps or dominate you. Fear is often “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Sometimes we think the worst and see the worst, but we don’t always see things accurately. If God is your light and your salvation, then believe in Him!
- Faith puts fear on the run. Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Place your faith in Him – and put fear on the run.
2: When Facing Hopelessness – DRAW NEAR (Psalm 27:4-6)
- The one thing David wanted to do was “Dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of [his] life.” What he was really saying is he wanted to walk in the presence of the Lord. He wanted to draw near to God.
- Remember that David was walking through hopelessness himself. The odds were stacked against him as King Saul was in hot pursuit and desired to kill him.
- Have you ever felt hopeless and like everything in life was out of your control? Do you feel like you are in free-fall right now?
- One of the best ways for us to practice the presence of God is to have a DQT, or a Daily Quiet Time. I’d like to suggest three aspects to a DQT that will help you draw near to the Lord and add strength to your life:
- Pray: ACTS
A > adoration (praise God for His power and goodness)
C > confession (admit sin and ask for forgiveness)
T > thanksgiving (express gratitude for blessings)
S > supplication (offer needs to God)
- Pray: ACTS
- Bible: SOAP
S > scripture (choose a reading plan: Psalms, Philippians, etc.)
O > observation (what jumps out to you and why)
A > application (personalize and put into practice)
P > prayer (pray for God help you grow and live for Him)
- Bible: SOAP
- Read for spiritual growth. There are some great books out there; be always reading and growing!
- Remember James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…”
3: When Facing Pain – RECEIVE (Psalm 27:7-12)
- Key phrase – “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”
- Personal pain comes in many forms and from many sources. One of the most painful sources of pain that we experience is relational pain. David wasn’t spared this pain, and we see that in this Psalm. There’s a lot of relational pain represented in these verses:
- “God, don’t abandon me” (vs. 7-9).
- “Even though those closest to me turn their back on me” (his mother and father) (vs. 10).
- Oppressors (vs. 11).
- False witness (vs. 12).
- Malicious accusation (vs. 12).
- The message within the message is that David turned to God when there was nowhere else and noone else to turn to. And God was there for him, just like He will always be there for us!
- What pain are you going through? What do you need to receive from the Lord? Do you need comfort? David did. Assurance? David did. Support? David did. Pray right now and present your need to Jesus. Present your hurt and pain to Him.
- When we face the deepest, darkest pain that makes us feel alone, hopeless, and overwhelmed, David challenges us to turn to God and receive. We receive something from someone outside ourselves – and that someone is Jesus! He has what you need.
4: When Facing Uncertainty – TRUST (Psalm 27: 13-14)
- Confidence is a huge word for me (vs. 13). I’m confident my sins are forgiven and that Jesus is my Lord. I’m confident He is walking with me and that I will go to Heaven when I die.
- When I encourage folks to write out their testimony, I point them to a three-point outline.
- What was it like before you became a Christian?
- How did you come to Christ?
- What is one word to describe your life now as a Christian?
- What is your word? As I mentioned above, confidence is mine.
- David was confident in the “goodness of the Lord,” and that caused him to say, “be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” What he is saying here is TRUST in God! When we are surrounded by uncertainty, we trust in the goodness and strength of our God. That is what faith really is.
- Commentators say about the word wait that it’s “faith encouraging faith.” To me, that means placing my faith in the goodness and power of God – and then trusting Him no matter what.
- Moses didn’t see the water part right away. Things were very uncertain – but he trusted.
- Daniel didn’t see the lion’s mouths closed right away. Things were ominous, to say the least – but he trusted.
- David didn’t know his stone would hit Goliath in exactly the right place and take him down. It looked like a giant of a problem – but he trusted.
- What are you going through right now that is uncertain, ominous, impossible, or a giant of a problem? Do what David did, and what God asks us to do: TRUST IN HIM!
Whatever you’re facing, good or bad, set some time aside in your DQT and present it to the Father. Then BELIEVE, DRAW NEAR, RECEIVE and TRUST that He will work it together for your good.