““Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.”
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Do you ever feel what David is talking about in verse 2 of this Psalms? “I am overwhelmed by my troubles.” I would dare to say we all have at some point of our lives, maybe everyday you feel this way. This life is jam packed with it’s fair share of troubles, especially when you’re a child of God. Being a child of God makes us an enemy of Satan and the closer we move to God the bigger that target on our back gets so when the devil sees that target, BOOM!! He attacks. He attacks in every way imaginable, spreading lies in our thoughts, tempting us to go against God and do things that God would strongly advise us not to do, and being the “humans” we are, we are so easily enticed and deceived to fall into these attacks, and the troubles of life.
Troubles come in so many different ways but instead of getting into all that, what I’ve struggled with lately is how I respond to the troubles I face. What I’ve noticed in my struggles with troubles the struggles and attacks from the devil in my life is that I focus so much of my thoughts and energy on that, when all that bad comes my way, I just want to lay down, give up, play the role of the victim. I’m so focused on the bad I become like David mentions, “overwhelmed by my troubles.” When I really sat back and looked at it, I thought, “c’mon man, are you serious?” Jesus tells us so many times through the Gospels that followers of Him will face troubles, He faced SO many troubles and attacks while on this earth and living a life with the ultimate goal being to strive to walk as Christ did, in the example He set. Why do I act surprised when troubles come? First lesson; troubles, attacks, they are going to come so don’t be surprised, lean on the Lord and be ready to stand firm in the storm.
Hebrews 2:18 says, ““Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
So how do we respond to getting knocked down? I thought about my time playing high-school basketball and playing at a small 2A school, I was usually the biggest guy on our team. I was tall but man I was skinny as a rail. Almost every game we played teams that had guys just as tall or taller than me and they had some muscle to em. There was so many games I got thrown around like a rag doll trying to guard those big ol jokers. It wasn’t much fun to say the least. There was one game my junior year where I had to guard a guy who was 6’6, probably 275 at least, he was being recruited by Division I schools for football so yeah I had a lot to look forward to. I had been thrown around by guys like him throughout my freshman and sophomore year so something clicked inside of me. I didn’t want to play the victim card anymore and make excuses saying he was bigger than me. I was sick and tired of getting knocked down and wanting to stay down so first chance I got to guard him, he drove to the basket and I threw my body at him fouling him as hard as I could. I doubt he felt it much but I wanted to make sure he knew I was there. Turns out he wasn’t too happy about the foul so the next play, I got the ball at the free throw line, made a move to drive to the basket, BOOM!!!! He lowered his gigantic shoulder into me and put me through the floor. Usually I’m nothing but a big, quiet, nice guy even on the court, but this hit had me fired up. I slammed the ball against the ground and got up to stand looking into his chin (he was big), and the rest of the game I ran my mouth and hit him every chance I could. I just figured if he got mad that easy then being one of their better players I could get him focused on me instead of destroying us.
I’m sure we’ve all had a moment like that where we got sick and tired of getting knocked down, losing and being the victim so you get mad and ready to fight. This is the coolest part about what this verse in Hebrews tells us and what David speaks of in verse 22. In the sports world or life, getting mad and fighting the problem with everything we got seems to be the way to go. You can read a million self help books that will tell you exactly that. But when we face troubles and attacks from the devil in our lives, we don’t have to waste our time or energy fighting a fight that’s not ours to fight. David says, “cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” When you get mad and won’t to fight after being knocked down, respond with taking it to the Lord, through God and God alone do we have what it takes to endure and get through the surrounding storms. So often I either fight with what I got or give in but God tells us to do neither, He says press into Him and lean on Him. Give Him your troubles and He will be faithful in providing everything you need to get through them and keep fighting. And with our identities in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are one with Him. In Hebrews it says Jesus knows exactly what you’re going through so when you cast your troubles on Him, He is there to literally give you exactly what you need. He is there at all times to help in our time of need.
I so often either respond to troubles as a victim or I go and try to fix everything on my own. How comforting is it that we don’t have to be a victim because Jesus has declared us a victor through His victory overcoming the struggles He endured. We also don’t have to try to fix it on our own because He is there with us, He’s been through it all so He is there to help give us what we need to overcome with Him. What’s even cooler when taking our troubles to the Lord, you start looking at your troubles and remember how as a victim you used to focus on all the bad so much that by the end of it, things just got badder and badder? With Jesus, walking as a victor, all that trouble doesn’t seem so bad anymore. When we realize that God really isn’t going to let us be shaken by anything, we can focus on His truth and power, then we begin to see “trouble” through His eyes and it’s not even trouble any more. It looks like a door just got slammed in your face but God says hold up, the door is open, keep on walking because there’s another door. Instead of getting knocked down and doors closed, usually my response is to sit behind those doors all day wallowing in my self-pity, but God uses the trouble as a lesson, a “test” and He gives us everything we need to keep moving through the doors into what He has for us in this life. Trouble isn’t all that troubling when you give it to God. He shows you how to get past it, and the lesson He’s teaching you through it which strengthens you for the next storm that comes up in your life. It’s crazy how everything we see as “bad” is completely reversed when we cast our cares on God, trust in His strength and provision, seeing life through His eyes. So when you get knocked down, stand up and fight by giving it to God. It’s amazing what He will do next.