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Handling Hurdles

There is always a challenge. Life rarely stays in a serene state. Whether small or large, we often find ourselves overcoming one hurdle only to be greeted by another. There are times this is merely irritating or exhausting, there are others where the hurdle we are having to leap over seems far too great for us to clear.


Whether it be a broken appliance, shortage of cash, the stress of a class or career, loss of a job, death of a loved one, disease, or any other unexpected twist in your story we can easily find ourselves shaken.


Psalm 62 is a great passage for times like these. As David, the author, no doubt experienced and faced opposition that threatened his life, we can probably learn a thing or two of how to handle difficult times. You see this best in the verses below:


5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,

for my hope is from him.

6 He only is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;

my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;

pour out your heart before him;

God is a refuge for us. Selah


This passage details David’s posture when weathering fearful and dangerous storms. As I look at these verses, three words stick out to me that I want to hang some thoughts on:

Silence

It's always important to note when the Bible uses a word multiple times. David makes it a point to describe that he will wait in silence for God to save him — twice (v. 1, 5)! What does this reveal about David?


First, David did not see it fit to complain, grumble, or panic in the face of difficulty. He instead resolved to be silent. I find this to be a great challenge for us as we find ourselves frequently airing our grievances to anyone that will listen. This is especially true for today living in the erupting "outrage culture" that our society has nurtured. Silence in today's world is seen as complacency. It's rage immediately or be canceled eventually.


Second, this silence is not from fear, as if David was frozen terrified, but it resonates from confidence. The word here for silence can literally mean, "the absence of emotional distress and the ability to be quiet and relax.” With a world overcome with emotions, particularly anxiety, stress, and fear, I'd say David's posture is seen as both rare and highly desired.


Third, David was able to be silent because he knew where his hope lied. He writes, “for God alone” his soul waits in silence, it’s from him that his hope comes from. I have a hunch that most times we don’t run to God as our first source of comfort or hope, we look to other things to ease our burdens. One example is that of finances. You can tell much about a heart that wavers depending on the number in the bank account. Luckily, David addresses this very thing later in the psalm, "Put no trust in extortion set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them” (v.10). Now most of us probably won’t resolve to steal (hopefully), but we may very well set our heart on increasing wealth. The security feels a little more present, the ability to breath a little more magically appears — yet once that wealth is whittled down, we suddenly find ourselves gasping for air again. David was able to live in this silent confidence because he set his heart and hope on God alone, not on his bank account.

Shaken

The other keyword that is also repeated twice is shaken. David notes that his quiet confidence in God alone results in him not being “greatly shaken” (v.2). The word used here can literally mean, "to be moved, removed, to fall. It is used of a wavering, wobbling action.” I like to picture a boxer who just received a powerful right hook. Staggering around, not sure where he is, can’t find the ability to set his feet. And before you know it, he’s on the ground.


Some events in life feel like perfect right hooks to the chin, ones that fittingly wobble us a bit. But then many others merely brush us on the cheek and we suddenly have vertigo. I have a hunch David faced more right hooks than most of us ever will, and his response was “I won’t let that shake me.” The good news is, this power is accessible to all believers because we have God’s Spirit in us. Paul wrote to Timothy, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7). Sadly, it seems we have a lot of Christians needlessly living in fear these days.


The truth is, suffering or difficulty are opportunities for us to put God on display. To exercise faith and say with David, “I won’t be greatly shaken.” When instead we let any light bump throw off our balance we don’t depict a God of strength. Instead, we simply reveal what we do and don’t believe about him and his promises. David knew who his God was and what his promises were to him — and because of that, he was able to stand.

Pour

But don't think that means we aren't allowed to feel emotions when dealing with hardships of life. The final keyword is only used once in the psalm but is no less impactful. David says in verse 8, "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.” What I love about this verse is how personal it is. The call to pour our hearts and soul out to God alone is a picture of complete trust and security. Think of the ability to withhold no emotion, fear, thought, or concern you have. To have an outlet to share those things, David writes, “pour it all out to him.” One note I read about this verse said, "One’s deepest and most private thoughts and feelings are safe with God.”

The key here is that while we are silent in the face of opposition or difficulty, we are vocal with God. It’s from these intimates moments of running to him as our refuge and pouring our hearts out that we can turn and be silently confident in him. Why? Because we know where our hope comes from. He tells us to cast our burdens on him and he will not permit us to be moved, instead, he will sustain us (Psalm 55:22).

So in the face of difficulty, opposition, right hooks — remember to pour out your soul to God, voice all your fears, needs, worries, and sin to him. Then turn towards that which you face and be silently confident in him and his promises. In doing this, you will not be greatly shaken, you will not waiver, God will sustain you. Trust in him at all times.