Study the life of David in the historical books and see a man filled with godly confidence. He was a sinner like us, but in many ways he’s a great model. What was his secret?
Read the Psalms he wrote during the same times and he seems more like a scared child clinging to God. His prayers weren’t bare minimum. He didn’t merely go through the motions.
In 2 Samuel 15-16 David goes through a terrible experience. After his sin with Bathsheba, the Lord says a consequence will be rebellion in his home. (2 Samuel 12:10-11) Years later his son revolts in an attempt to steal his father’s throne.
He knows the pain is a consequence of his sin. This must have added to his trauma. Furthermore, this isn’t an enemy at the gates. This is his family. David’s passivity as a father comes home to roost. Many join the rebellion. His chief counselor stabs him in the back. How should he respond?
He makes wise strategic decisions. He flees the city and leaves behind spies. He is faithful in his duties as king.
He isn’t self-centered. He thinks of those he shepherds selflessly. He momentarily relinquishes his throne. What amazing humility! In the midst of this great hardship, he thinks for others. He doesn’t desperately drag everyone with him. He encourages many to stay in the city where they would be safe and comfortable.
He leaves the ark of the Lord behind. He is surrendered to whatever God ordains for Him. He doesn’t sinfully kick against providence and demand a certain outcome.
He wept as he walked. He wasn’t fake. He didn’t falsely project strength. He was honest with others. He led with a limp. He let people into his struggle.
In the midst of deep pain and suffering, some heaped cursing on him. He didn’t take vengeance. Again, he kept entrusting his destiny to God’s sovereign plan.
Under unimaginable stress David was wise, selfless, humble, surrendered and content. He was thoughtful for others and confident in God. How is this possible?
Psalm 3 shows David crying out to God. He rolls His burdens onto the Lord. He lays all his complaints before God. He felt no need to register every complaint with friends because he found such a listening ear with His Father.
It’s good to vent to godly friends. David is honest about weakness in front of others. Pouring out our hearts to friends alone though will fix little. Relief comes when we pour ourselves out before the Lord.
Don’t hold back in prayer. Don’t you hate it when a family member or friend won’t tell you what’s bothering them when you know something is weighing on them? It’s a strike against intimacy. At some level that person doesn’t trust us with their heart pain.
Trust Christ enough to pray like a raw exposed nerve. Even if you are angry at God, tell him. He already knows. He can handle it. The first step towards real repentance is honesty about the problem.
David is brutally honest with God about his enemies, pain, doubts and fears. Are you? If not, why?
Prayer in pain often starts as a cry, a soul scream. Plead for mercy. Beg for help from your Heavenly Father. Nothing brings a parent running faster than to hear their child crying.
Prayer isn’t just a cry. It’s not merely an emotional vomit. We aren’t talking into thin air to make ourselves feel better. God is real. He hears. He cares. He moves.
Good prayer includes meditation. Desperate prayer practically takes our souls’ hopes off our own efforts and onto Christ. Read Psalm 16:8. David sets God before his minds eye. He senses God’s nearness. Therefore he will never be shaken.
God meets us where we are when we cry out. David had a threefold problem. Enemies threatened. David’s earthly glory was gone. Others cursed.
God had a threefold answer. God was his shield. God was his glory. God lifted His head. God gives more than we need.
David couldn’t save himself. God could. David’s earthly glory was left in Jerusalem. In prayer, David remembered His true glory is secure above. Outwardly, David’s head may have hung down. Inwardly there was confidence that had no earthly explanation.
What’s your main struggle? Are you being brutally honest with the Lord in prayer? God has a perfect answer for you.
In the Psalm, David says God answered. How did he know? He says he slept. He knew many enemies were near. How could he sleep? God answered practically and gave the peace that passes all understanding.
As we are fully honest about our weaknesses and embrace the reality of them, God’s power is perfected in us. David was growing in His confidence in His Savior. His confidence in God’s protection and plan became so real that he laid down and got a great night’s sleep surrounded by death threats and warriors that hated him.
Experiencing God regularly in prayer leads to a deep confidence that cannot be shaken. This is most felt when we pray and meditate in light of the gospel. Focus on God’s clearest example of providing for you.
We are weak, sinful and hopeless left to ourselves. That’s why Christ came and absorbed the wrath of God for us, to restore our glory in His image. He lifts our heads as He saves us. Because His cry on the cross went unanswered, we can have full confidence in Christ that the Father will always answer us. This is the key to confidence at all times.
Christians know these truths. We often don’t experience the depths of salvation though. Wrestling with God honestly about how deeply we are struggling is the key to having a sense in our soul of the forgiving and providing love of God. Experiencing God’s saving love in prayer afresh on a regular basis is the key to walking through the worst times with confidence.