Have you ever noticed how many of the psalms were written during times of difficulty?
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
He is my God, and I trust him.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
If we read between the lines of these psalms, we get the distinct impression that the psalmist is facing some pretty serious challenges: being surrounded by an army, needing a place of refuge, facing danger and fear and anxiety. Maybe we’re not facing a literal army, but my guess is that most of us have felt like we’re in a battle at some point or at the very least in need of a place of rest and protection.
Likewise, most of the New Testament epistles were written from prisons. Some of the most powerful sections of Scripture were written by authors who found themselves in circumstances beyond their control—circumstances they never would have chosen themselves. Paul wrote the book of Philippians when he was in custody of the Roman government, yet he still clung to the promise of God’s faithfulness: “This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
In the same way that fear can test our trust, trials can also test our trust. Let me say that again, because I need to hear it too: trials test our trust.
In her song “Hard Times Come,” Amy Grant writes,
Hard times come
And they’ll come till we’re done.
You know what? She’s right. Hard times come—but they’re not here to torture us; they’re here to teach us. We either learn from them or we don’t.
One of the mistakes we often make as mothers is thinking that our children should never see us get upset or wrestle through something. This is simply not true (not to mention impossible). Struggle is part of life. The question isn’t whether our children should see our struggles and burdens. The question is, Do our trials point our children to Jesus Christ even as we stumble and struggle along the way?
If we tell our children that we trust God but we’re living in a constant state of panic and distrust, what are we saying with our lives? Through our actions, we put our trust in God on display for our children. It’s a big deal how we respond during trials. Our responses to the pressures of this world are shaping an entire generation. The way we handle failure, financial difficulty, loss, and pain speaks volumes about what we really believe.
In Psalm 20:7 (niv), David says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Allow me to put that into contemporary mom-speak for you: “Some trust in financial stability, some trust in homeschooling, some trust in medicine, some trust in [fill in your own blank], but I choose to trust in the name of the Lord!”
There are so many things that seem easier to trust than the Lord—after all, He is invisible. We like to see what we’re putting our trust in. That’s part of faith, isn’t it? That we’re trusting our future to a God we can’t see? But the truth is, anything other than Jesus will eventually let us down. In Psalm 28:7-8, David says: “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. The Lord gives his people strength. He is a safe fortress for his anointed king.”
Is the Lord your strength and shield? Take a moment to check your heart. It’s easy to operate in the world and forget that God is our true source of protection and power.
Does your life demonstrate a trust in God’s provision? In His goodness? In His Word? In His timing? It’s critical that it does. Why? Because we can’t give our kids what we don’t have. If we don’t put our trust in the Lord, how can we expect them to?
Are you struggling? Look up! Don’t be overcome by fear or anxiety. Remember that God can use these hard times to teach us and to put our trust to the test.
One of the reasons I love the psalms so much is because David is so transparent in his human attempt to walk with his Creator. The source of his confidence and stability wasn’t in his own strength but in God. And yet he struggled. This man who referred to himself as the apple of God’s eye (see Psalm 17:8, NIV) struggled with fear. One minute he was praising God, and the next he was crying out for rescue—just like the rest of us!
When you find yourself struggling as David did, ask yourself, “Has He ever failed me?” The answer is a clear and resounding no. Even if it seems like He is absent. Even when we make mistakes and choose to walk in disobedience, God says He uses all things for good. He is in control—even when we feel out of control—which means we can quiet our hearts and rest knowing that God will never let us go.
When we realize that God sees our frailty and understands our worry, it’s easier to see His heart for us. God loves us, even in our times of doubt and unbelief. As the song goes, “The times they are a-changin’.” But God doesn’t change. He remains the same: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Even when my plans fail—His never will.
Adapted from Becoming MomStrong: How to Fight with All That’s in You for Your Family and Your Faith by Heidi St. John.