Making God Your Refuge in Difficult Circumstances

Making God Your Refuge in Difficult Circumstances

by: Scott Dickson

What’s your typical response to difficult circumstances? 

 

Do you keep your cool, calmly assess the situation, bring your concerns to God, and then go take a nap, knowing that the matter is in His capable and loving hands? 

 

Or do you panic? 

 

I know how I’d like to answer that question. The first option seems much more noble. Plus, it sounds like an amazing way to walk through life! Yet, my typical response to difficult circumstances is usually some degree of panic.

 

In Psalm 11, David is facing a difficult situation of his own. Like with many of the psalms, we’re not sure of the specifics of what he’s facing, but whatever it is, it seems to be serious. And throughout the psalm, both of the responses listed above are on full display. 

 

First, there’s the panic. This is found in verses 1–3 and are probably from the lips of David’s advisors. In response to the “wicked” who are preparing to “shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart,” these advisors see exactly one option: run. In verse 1 they tell David to flee like a bird to the mountain. And their hopelessness is clearly evident in verse 3 where the seemingly natural (and only) recourse to their predicament is to despair. 

 

But then there’s David and his response. What seems so natural to his advisors is entirely unnatural to him, because he has taken refuge in God (verse 1). And in verse 4–7, he explains why he can be so calm. Whereas his advisors don’t seem to acknowledge God’s presence in their situation, David can’t help but acknowledge it, constantly mentioning “The Lord.” 

 

David reminds himself and his advisors that God is on His throne. He sits there, unthreatened, with eyes keenly fixed on the righteous and the wicked: on the wicked, to ensure that justice will be done and that the evil they inflict on others will be punished; on the righteous, to ensure that He will come through for those He favors. In short, David reminds himself of what is true about God. And these reminders make the panic response in verses 1–3 unnecessary. 

David knows that God is on His throne | TDGC

 

For many of us, our response to difficult circumstances often sounds a lot more like David’s advisors than David himself. We’ve trained our eyes to see hardship and nothing else. We’ve told ourselves that standing strong in these moments is impossible, so we take flight and attempt to escape what frightens and intimidates us. 

 

But a different response is possible. And David models it for us here. David never denies the difficulties of his situation or tries to minimize their severity (“It’s not that bad.”). Rather, he looks where his advisors don’t: at God. Mentioning “The Lord” several times, David remembers that the all-powerful God sees him, favors him, and that he will dwell in God’s presence (verse 7). 

 

David knows that God sees him, favors him, and that he is in God’s presence | TDGC

Similarly, remembering what David does in our own trials won’t magically make them go away or necessarily make them less painful. But these truths can anchor us. They can keep us from despair. When even the earth’s foundations seem to be coming undone, what we can do is entrust ourselves to the God who is righteous; the God who sees us, favors us, and will bring us into His presence. 

 

We can entrust ourselves to God, who is righteous | TDGC

 

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