Psalms of Thanks: Grace for the overwhelmed

Focus: Psalm 40

If nothing else, the Bible is real. It is filled with struggling people who are overwhelmed by grief and problems. Job has boils all over his body. Nehemiah cries over Jerusalem in shambles. No holy platitudes here, just real people. The psalms more than any other place are filled with such raw emotion. I look around me and I see a lot of struggling people. They all say that they are doing fine, but their eyes say different. David and others pour out their hearts and wear their problems on their sleeves. Here David feels like he is in a slimy pit. The solution for all of them is to turn to God. Perhaps that is why they are so loved by Christians. There are days that I am one of them. I feel powerless to change things and uncertain what to do. God is our answer and help in difficult times.

It is not easy to wait for God’s grace when you are in pain. V.1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. You cry about it with God and nothing happens right away. In your head, you know that God is the only answer, but your heart is breaking from the pain as you wait. You know God will not let you down, but you have trouble waiting for the guy to fix the washer. Success or failure in trouble and in life will depend on whether we can wait for the Lord or whether we try to solve the problem ourselves. God’s solutions always work and lift us out of our troubles. Our solutions often cause us greater pain and suffering. Here are three things to do when life is overwhelming

A. Think back on what God has done v.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. When fears start to overwhelm you, look back on all that the Lord has done for you. David speaks of what the Lord did for him in his trial. First, God turned to him and heard his cry. God paid attention. With the entire world to rule, God saw David’s need and focused on him. Even before help comes, God is acting and watching. At the right time, he lifts us out of the pit and puts us on solid ground. We think that no one cares, but God is there all the time and God will act at the right time.

B. Seek God not his favor v.6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. David knew that you can’t buy God. Old Testament Jews thought that they had to do these things to get God’s attention. We get caught in the same trap. So often trouble comes and we want to bargain with God. God help me with this problem and I will come to church faithfully for the next year. David knew that that the real answer was to build a relationship with God so that you know what his promises are. To let him truly work in your life, you have to give him your life.

C. Follow God with an open heart v. 7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll. David finally knew that when he was in trouble, he needed to follow the Lord. When the Lord called him to go in one direction, he needed to follow the Lord and not second guess what the Lord was doing. As we travel, we often follow a GPS to go places that we have never been. If you want to get to your destination, you need to follow the GPS. God sets a direction in the scripture for all of us to follow. He alone knows where we are to be. The key to success is to make trusting God a habit in our life. Each trial and God’s solution will teach us to trust him a little more.