(from Bend in the Road by David Jeremiah) It’s one thing to be in trouble. You can have trouble on a nice day. You can have trouble with your children or your coworkers, but these are usually little troubles you know you can rise above. It’s another thing to be in the midst of trouble. The appropriate word would be stuck. You find yourself in a crisis with no immediate resolution. You know this thing isn’t going away. You know that when you wake up tomorrow morning, and the morning after that, this matter will leap to the forefront of your mind as soon as you wipe the sleep from your eyes.
In the midst of trouble, David in the Psalms 138:8 assures us that the Lord will not only protect you, but He will perfect you. That means He is bringing to completion everything in the world that surrounds and defines us. What happens when we go through troubles and lose our perspective? We begin to think that God has forgotten us. He must have discarded that plan He had for this life. And of course, it’s never true.
When we navigate troubled waters, God is the Master of not only the waves, but also the ship. He never abandons His plans or His people. He will see the voyage through to its final destination. But we’re stubborn creatures who struggle to learn. And we learn the least when the sun is shining and the winds are crisp and life feels good. Peace and prosperity have never provided effective classrooms. Crisis and catastrophe, on the other hand, offer master’s degrees. The truth etches itself into your mind and heart when you find yourself forced into a one-on-one relationship of dependency upon God. It’s essential that we cling to His promise of continuous perfection. He is our only hope, our only asset, our only possibility, and as we look into His eyes, we realize that from the very beginning life has always been like that. We just wouldn’t learn it, for we’re stubborn creatures.
During the difficult days, what is He doing? I call Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.the “Philippians 1:6 of the Old Testament.”“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
No matter what, you must never forget that when you’re deep in the midst of trouble, God is still busy at work in you, though He may be doing so out of your sight. He is eager to show us how well He can protect us, so that He might demonstrate in the process how wonderfully He can perfect us. Then, when the noise and the dust of it all are gone, the dross will have been burned off. What is left will be all the gold of a lifetime of God’s ongoing project of perfection in us.
What a wonderful God! When we begin to look at our difficulties from the perspective of the psalms, our depression fades. Our hope increases. Our love for God is intensified. David’s Final Appeal: David asks the Lord to keep up the good work. “Do not forsake the works of Your hands,” he says (v. 8). This is a man who has become aware of the work of the Sculptor who has been chipping away the raw stone of his life for years. He is saying, “Lord, You started this work on me. Your art project began a lifetime ago with a small shepherd boy. And You’ve continued to bring the king from the stone.
Have you ever imagined yourself literally in the hands of the Lord? It’s a wonderful thought. Those hands that created the universe, that hurled the stars out into space and crafted the mountains and seashores, and then molded Adam from the dust of the earth; those hands that took the nails and reached out in pain across the wooden beams to embrace all of humanity—those hands now hold and caress you with gentle love. You and I stand beside David to say, “Lord, lift me up in those powerful hands. And let them continue their work, even when it causes the pain of authentic discipline.”