Do you ever feel like a badly-built wall that is leaning over quite precariously? In fact, your wall looks like it’s about to fall down and potentially flatten any gawking audience standing in close proximity! I must admit that I sometimes feel like this. David often did too, and he wrote about it in Psalm 62, ‘Would you throw me down – this leaning wall, this tottering fence?’ (vs 3)
Despite how his circumstances appeared, David said, ‘I shall not be shaken’
Not only was he feeling fragile in this Psalm, but he suspected that his enemies harboured malicious intentions toward him. He wondered if he would be able to withstand further battering when he was already so vulnerable. We may sometimes feel that just one more harsh word could be more than we can bear. But David goes on to reveal the secret strength of the believer, which is that how we feel and how others perceive us does not reflect how strong we really are. Despite how his circumstances appeared, David said, ‘I shall not be shaken’ (vs 6).
How can we be this confident? How can we find strength to stand firm, despite the odds?
How to Stand Firm
As believers we will often find ourselves feeling exposed and vulnerable, but we can still be consistent and temperate through the worst of times if we learn what David learned. In his time of being hounded by Saul and his army of soldiers, David was vulnerable and quite defenceless for much of the time. He learned the value of hiding himself in rocky caverns and fortified strongholds. But David’s confidence was that God Himself was his ultimate security. He says, ‘Truly he [God] is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.’ (vs 2)
If you are anything like David when you are feeling very vulnerable, you may feel like you know what you are supposed to say or pray or believe, but it all suddenly feels like abstract spirituality. David expresses something of this despondency when he says, ‘From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.’ (Psalm 61:2)
We need to appropriate the truth about God’s salvation to the specific situation that we are facing.
He knows that his security is in that giant rock of God’s salvation, but in his moment of earnest distress, he cannot seem to find that wonderful rock! There is a real gem hidden in this vulnerable prayer. We need to appropriate the truth about God’s salvation to the specific situation that we are facing. Quaint fridge-magnet platitudes are not going to get me through the trial that I am facing simply by reading them out.
Hear are a few ways in which David finds strength in God when he just can’t anymore:
1. Call Out
David says, ‘I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint’ (Psalm 61:2). His prayers are not little neat, sweet prayers. They resemble the kind of audacity of the beggar who screamed out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ (Luke 18:38) Insistent prayers made by an earnest saint, who is absolutely convinced that God is the only salvation, will catch God’s attention.
2. Pour Out
David’s advice is, ‘Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.’ Pouring out our hearts is when we bring all our messy fears, doubts and restless thoughts and confess them to God. We begin by being honest about what we feel and then we turn those feelings into prayers.
3. Speak to Your Soul
David frequently tells his soul what to do and how to feel. In this example he says, ‘Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation’. (Psalm 62:5,6) As we speak the word of God to our souls, the Holy Spirit ministers the peace of God to us and we find our rest.
4. Your True Reward
Often the thing which causes us much anxiety is a misplaced desire for affirmation. David reminds himself that, ‘My salvation and my honour depend on God.’ (Psalm 62:7) If we seek safety or honour from fallible humans, then we will never be consistent in our walk with God. He goes on to say, ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love; and, You reward everyone according to what they have done.’ (Psalm 62:11, 12)
The tests we endure are not to determine how well we ‘make it on our own’, but to.. turn to God and find His grace.
David wanted to make sure that he was living to please God and not men. He finds all the love and the affirmation that his soul so deeply craves in God: the Person who matters most of all. As David prays these prayers, you begin to notice a remarkable pattern – he comes before the Lord messy and staggering, but he inevitably goes out with a profound inner strength.
The tests we endure are not to determine how well we ‘make it on our own’, but to give us the opportunity of coming to the end of our own strength so that we can turn to God and find His grace. How we may feel and how others perceive us does not reflect how strong we truly are, because although my life may look like a ‘leaning wall’, I have found The Rock and so I will not be shaken. I encourage you to search for The Rock in the way that David did and find the confidence in Him that you will never be shaken.