Staying faithful in distress

Psalm 59:16–17

As we wrap up our year-long study of David and his family, I’d like to end with reflections on a few Psalms, the ancient Hebrew hymns reflecting several episodes in David’s life. (That there are songs reflecting David’s life isn’t surprising when you recall that David was a gifted musician, playing his lyre to soothe the tormented King Saul early in their relationship.)

David fights the Philistines for Saul, and even marries his daughter, but Saul begins to see David as a threat. For years, Saul tries to kill David, chasing him all over the country. Psalm 59 reflects the time when Saul sends men to kill David in his sleep. The beginning the song is David’s cry for protection from the “bloodthristy men,” but listen to how the Psalm ends:

But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.

O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. (Psalm 59:16-17)

This Psalm powerfully captures the mental process of David as he moves from peril to promise, from a place of anger to a place of assurance. In the midst of vulnerability, David ends his song by focusing on God’s goodness: His strength, protection, and love. If you read several of the Psalms in which David is in distress, he keeps returning to God’s providence. He moves from being fearful to being faithful.

Family businesses, and our relationships with family members, go through good times and bad. It’s easy to talk about God’s blessings when all is well, when success abounds. But to focus on God’s love for us at the point we are most frustrated with another, or when we feel the most isolated from our family, or when we are the most frightened for the survival of our business — that is when our faith is most necessary, yet so difficult to express.

When have you felt fear, anger, or the desire for vengeance toward another? What has been helpful in bringing you back to a hope and confidence in God?