When life presents us with challenges we are often left with huge questions about meaning, purpose and how to flat-out just keep going. Circumstances, events and challenges can present such massive obstacles that it is hard to know where to turn or who to trust in. I was once with a family who had huddled around their dying loved one as they sought to grasp and understand what was coming next. A family member asked, “What is faith?” Our conversation then revolved around “Who is God?” and what does it mean to fully trust Him.
The Bible is the story of God’s love for humanity and how He has created people to be in relationship with Him. As I read through the Bible, I see characters just like me who have choices to trust in themselves or to live out faith to trust God with whatever they are facing. David is one such character who was described as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) and he chose to live with resolve to follow God even in the darkest times. In the Book of Psalms (or Songs), David composed this anthem about his understanding of God’s character, His provision and promise.
In Psalm 27 he writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” (1). David understands and remembers the character of God. His relationship is based on what he has experienced in the past and what is still true for the future. He declares he is not afraid because he knows God is bigger than anything in his way. I believe David had “history” with God, so he could affirm this truth, even if it was not his present reality. Isn’t it easy to praise God when the sun is shining, and then doubt God when the storms roll in? David has confidence in God’s character because of how God has shown up in the past. David writes, “my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” (verse 3) David has confidence that is rooted in seeing God work throughout his lifetime.
David also understood that faith was an ongoing “leaning into God.” He pleads, “Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path.” (11). David acknowledges he has more to learn about handing things back to God and listening to God’s best ways to live. I believe God’s provision for humanity comes through living in relationship with Him and walking in His ways as David modeled.
Even in this, we see David being prone to doubt: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (13-14) Even through the unknowns and doubts, David is not paralyzed. David rests in the promises of God.
Are you overwhelmed by huge obstacles? Consider God: His character, provision and promises. God is there for you!
Frank Alioto pastors at Roots Family Church and serves as a chaplain at Central Peninsula Hospital and Central Emergency Services.
• By Frank Alioto, For the Peninsula Clarion