What Are You Thinking?
How is your thought life these days? Mine is a bit all over the place. No matter your situation, we all find ourselves pondering unwelcome scenarios.
· What happens if the virus continues to spread?
· Will I get the virus?
· Will someone I love get the virus?
· How can I teach my students/children effectively?
· Will they be ready for next year?
· What if this goes on for more than six months?
· Will I lose my job?
· How will I pay the bills?
It is difficult to control our thoughts when we are thrown into unfamiliar, ever-changing circumstances and are simultaneously bombarded by an overabundance of information. Now, add to that isolation and free time. No wonder our minds are going crazy!
As I contemplated our current situation, which is no doubt unprecedented, I was reminded of the life of David. As most of you know, David was a young boy when he was anointed King of Israel. After killing Goliath, life was good. David moved up through the ranks of Saul’s army and was revered by many. He married Saul’s daughter, and Saul’s son Jonathon became his best friend.
However, I am quite sure he was totally unprepared for what came next. His circumstances changed, and life would never be the same. He went from having it all to fearing for his life. Sound familiar? While I recognize David’s situation is a bit different than ours, there is much we can learn from how he responded.
I am thankful David penned so many of the Psalms. His words provide insight when dealing with loss, fear, and isolation. When I read David’s Psalms, I envision him speaking these truths to himself as well as crying out to God. He didn’t hold back. Maybe it was his way of navigating the crisis. It was obvious David was in relationship with God. All throughout his ordeal, he sought God. He was truly a man after God’s own heart. (Samuel 13:14).
When life got hard, one of the first things we see David do is ask for deliverance. Early in his journey to escape Saul, David wrote Psalm 59. He was not afraid to be honest with God. David explicitly described his situation and then point-blank asked God to rescue him. I think we can do the same. God knows our situation, but like David, we must approach Him with confidence. We can pour out our thoughts to Him—all of them—knowing He hears us. (I Peter 3:12)
In the middle of this Psalm David pauses and claims victory. He knows he is not alone.
You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.
Never doubt that God is with us through this difficult time we are presently experiencing. David reminds us that our strength comes from God alone. He stands with us, and He will prevail. He always does. Like David, we must speak this truth out loud into our thought life!
After his petitions, David ended this Psalm with praise. Once again, David was specific. His words reflected a thought life filled with confidence in God’s character.
But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. Psalm 59:16-17
In the middle of the confusion, we can praise Him! Focusing our thoughts on who God is and what He can do will give us confidence and peace to face uncertainty.
This was only the beginning for David. He ran from Saul for years. Look what he wrote four years later (Psalm 57). Had things changed? Not so much.
· David started the Psalm with a cry of deliverance.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.
· Second, he claimed victory.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.
· Finally, he offered praise.
I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.
I am amazed David never faltered in his reliance on and faith in God. He was persistent. He was confident. His thoughts focused on the promises of God despite his dire circumstances. After four years of being hunted by Saul and four years of living in a Philistine town away from his homeland, David’s isolation ended when he was made King of Israel. That is a long time. Throughout those years, David had opportunities to take matters into his own hands, but he chose instead to trust God.
As we all face a time of uncertainty, it will be important to harness our thoughts. There is no question the enemy will use this time to plant fear and doubt in the minds of believers. The longer this goes on, the worse it will get. Let go of the “what ifs” and like David, remain persistent as we cry out for deliverance, claim the victory, and offer our praises to God. This will end, and when it does, we will be able to look back and see God’s handiwork. Keep your mind set on Him.
People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. Isaiah 26:3-4
Note: Take some time and read I Samuel 16-2 Samuel 2. Then, read the corresponding Psalms written by David. It is mesmerizing!
Psalm 7: Protection from Saul: Cush the Benjaminite refers to Saul the son of Kish.
Psalm 59: 1 Samuel 19 when Michal let David escape from the house out the window.
Psalm 56: Captured by Philistines, David resorted to faking insanity to escape (56 and 57 are considered twin psalms).
Psalm 34: Faked madness to Achish.
Psalm 52: Doeg the Edomite kills the 85 priests of Nob.
Psalm 63: I Samuel 22:5 when Gad the prophet ordered David back to Judah to rely upon God.
Psalm 54: Ziphites betray David 3 times.
Psalm 18: When Saul surrounded David but was recalled to fight the Philistines (1 Samuel 23:26-28).
Psalm 57: When David was in the cave at En Gedi and cut the robe of Saul.
Psalm 142: When David was in the cave at En Gedi and cut the robe of Saul.