In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Psalms 11:1-3 ESV
Has anyone ever said something to you or suggested something to you that left you wondering,”Why did they just say that?” or “How could they just suggest that?”? Something you assumed was understood or obvious was actually questioned by another. Something you knew that you knew with your whole heart to be true was dubbed crazy or ridiculous by some else. If so, how did you respond? Were you angry? Were you dumbfounded? Did you laugh it off? Did you begin to question what you thought you once believed?
Regardless of how you may have responded in the past, in Psalm 11 David actually gives us an example to follow the next time. Apparently right before Psalm 11, someone told David he should flee and hide because the enemy was coming and the plight of the righteous was hopeless. Someone dared to not only assume the worst but then invited David do the same. In their opinion David should flee because those arrows in the dark were surely destined to hit their mark.
David was dumfounded. He couldn’t believe someone would dare make that suggestion. He was flabbergasted that someone suggested he run in fear. Yet he didn’t get angry; he didn’t begin to doubt. He simply responded to that crazy suggestion by asking a question.
His question? “How can you say to my soul to flee like a bird at the threat of the enemy?” In other words, he asked “How could I not trust God who is my refuge?”
David didn’t need to fear the what ifs because David knew Who God was (and is!). David didn’t have to flee the unknown because He knew the God who knows it all. Read with me what David shared with the doubter:
4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord‘s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
David knew who God was, he knew where God dwelled, he knew God was in charge, and he knew both the righteous and the wicked would one day “get their reward.” David didn’t doubt what he knew just because his physical eyes could not yet see. David trusted. He trusted that one day is Faith would indeed be sight.
My favorite line is the last one: that one day the righteous will behold his face. What a promise! Oh the joy that will come when we enter His presence! No more tears, no more pain, no more sickness, no more suffering. All things will be as God intended them to be.
It is a wonderful promise.
Yet even though we who know this promise can hold on to this promise, we are often questioned by those on the outside. We are often asked “why” and “how.” Why would God allow this to happen? Why would such a good person be taken so early from this life? How could God watch this and do nothing? How could we continue to trust in a God who would “let this happen”? Maybe you have even found yourself asking those very questions. Your home has been destroyed by a hurricane. The one you love has suddenly died. The doctor’s diagnosis is not what you wanted to hear. The cry of your heart seems to be met with silence from heaven.
Well, I do not know exactly what you’re going through today, and I will not even try to pretend that I know. But I will share what I do know. Our God is in his holy Temple in heaven. Our God is righteous. Our God sees it all. Our God knows it all. And one day the wicked will perish but the righteous will see his face.
“Where is your God?” people ask. “How can you trust God in such a time like this?” Well, here is what our answer should be: “How could I NOT?!” How could I not trust in God in times of trouble? How could I not run to God for refuge? How could I not keep my eyes fixed on the promise that one day I will behold his face? If I cannot trust in God, then whom can I trust? No one. All people on earth will fail me. Nothing on earth and no one on earth will last forever. But God remains. God is steadfast. God is immovable. God is Lord. And if God is Lord, how dare I question Him when things aren’t going my way.
When the Lord is your refuge, you don’t run away from the enemy; you run to your Lord. And that is my encouragement to you today. Regardless of what you are going through, regardless of the circumstances you are facing, regardless of the questions that remain unanswered–trust in the Lord. Trust in His goodness. Trust in His mercy. Trust in His promise of redemption. Trust. And as you trust, if someone comes up to you and asks you “How could you trust in a time like this?” or “How could you believe in a God that would let this happen?” Do not get angry. Do not get frustrated. Do not begin to doubt. Just pray for that person as you smile back and simply respond with, “How could I not? How could I not trust in the one who was and is and always will be? How could I not trust in the one who promised that one day–yes, one day I, even I, little ‘ole me–will one day behold his face.”
This world is not our home, my friend. This world is not our home. So as we travel through this life, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let us keep believing and knowing that we know that when all else falls away, God remains. Yes, God remains. And one day, one glorious day, the upright shall behold His face.