In the Day of Trouble (Psalm 86:5-7)
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. —Psalm 86:5-7
In his book A Praying Life Paul Miller offers this great truth: “Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart.” As we approach the words of Psalm 86 this week, we can modify Miller’s quote to apply to the circumstances of the psalmist facing severe trials, “learning to pray doesn’t offer us a more peaceful life, it offers us a more peaceful heart.” The psalmist comes with childlike dependence on the God who is able. He doesn’t seek a trouble-free life, he seeks the peace that comes from being a child of the One who is working all things for good (Romans 8:28).
This week’s verses will be a particular encouragement to those facing difficulties in their lives right now. But, because trials are to be expected in the Christian life (2 Timothy 3:12), these verses are of great value for all of us. As many of you have likely experienced, even if we are not in danger and difficulty now, storing up God’s Word in our heart will prepare us for the battles and challenges that will certainly come.
It is often in the valley of the shadow of death that it is very easy to fear evil, and to doubt that God is, in fact, with us (Psalm 23). But this prayer looks beyond the dire circumstances the psalmist is facing and appeals to the compassion and faithfulness of his sovereign God. Just as the Lord Jesus assured his disciples they would certainly encounter trouble in this world, all believers can “take heart” because our Lord and God has overcome the world (John 16:33).
The confidence of this prayer in verses 5-7 is based on four affirmations about who God is—He is good, He is forgiving, He abounds in steadfast love, and He answers those who call. When things look bad, when our weaknesses are exposed, when we feel alone, when we cry out, we have a God who is absolutely dependable. We see that in the verses that follow. “There is none like [Him]” (v. 8), all nations shall “come and worship” before Him (v. 9), for He is great and does wondrous things (v. 10).
Whether the day of our trouble is yesterday, today, or tomorrow, we have a God who has overcome the world. We have a God who is sovereignly loving. And we can trust in Him.
What are some specific examples of God’s faithfulness and power in your life?
How might you make sure you remember and entrust yourself to who God is when you face troubles in your life?
How might this week’s Fighter Verse encourage you to encourage those in your life who are facing troubles right now?