Once, in Jr. High, I got caught cheating on a math test. In my embarrassment I tried to hide the fact from all of my friends. Conversely when my wife and I got engaged we were ecstatic. We wanted to tell everybody that we we’re getting married and did. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognize that we talk about what excites us and minimize what embarrasses us.
The funny thing is we rarely herald a failure. Equally rare is a conversation about something that might go wrong. We often wait for the best results before we trump up our successes, for few of us want to shine light on our failures.
This may be a natural response to the world around us, but should we treat God this way? Praising Him when He comes through for us and sweeping Him under the rug when we feel He’s let us down? This isn’t a new struggle either.
David was a shepherd. One day, after bringing some supplies to his brothers who were in battle, David steps up big for God and kills the giant Goliath. Pretty awesome. David, with God’s help, delivers. He then goes on to have a very successful, but brief, career in the army of King Saul. But it’s not all roses for David. Soon he finds himself out of favor with Saul. Why? Because God decides that David should be king in place of Saul. With that decision made, David is forced to live the prime years of his life as a fugitive. He’s hunted down, consistently on the run and always in danger. It gets so bad that at one point David even has to fake insanity just to survive.
It may seem to many of us that God did not show up for David. No one would have faulted David if He had just complained about the challenges he faced in life. But listen to the words He wrote in Psalm 71: “As for me, I will wait continually, and will continue to praise God. I will tell about your justice, and all day long proclaim your salvation, through I cannot fathom its full extent. I will come and tell about the mighty acts of the sovereign LORD. I will proclaim your justice -yours alone.”
David’s life was full of highs and lows. But throughout, David consistently praised God and expected God to do great things; and God did. We need to consider two points highlighted in David’s life.
First, circumstances should not dictate how much or how little God comes up in our day-to-day lives. If God is your God then make sure those around you know. Work hard to ensure the praise of God trumps your daily complaints at the water coolers in your life. Whether you’re dropping off the kids at dance class or taking the car to the repair shop find a note of praise-even if it’s hopeful praise- not criticism, to share with those around you.
Second, we need to expect God to show up. I’m amazed that David wrote this Psalm at all. This is a guy who went through some crazy stuff during his life, yet He always expected God to show up. He lived in such a way that if God didn’t show up He would not have made it. Do we do the same? When life brings us difficulties, do we react by inviting God’s presence and power?
It’s time to start talking more, about what God has done and what we’re trusting Him to do in our daily lives. I hope your praise of God trumps the complaints of life and that your message to others is one of good news.
Why is it dangerous to trust our response to our immediate circumstances?
What does it look like to live expectantly before God?