EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) – Julie Thompson’s bend in the road began with the discovery of a lump. For James P. Colepepper, it was a visit from police officers who told him his “identity” had been stolen and his credit cards had been used to finance an illegal operation. For Todd Smith, it was the news that his company was filing for bankruptcy and laying off its employees.
At such times, many feel they’ve hit a dead end; but for Christians, these are disruptive moments, which develop our faith and prove God’s faithfulness.
Helen Steiner Rice wrote:
Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads, and we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision and he knows it’s only a bend.
When I come to my own bends in the road, the writings of King David help me to regain my bearings. We can learn to handle our twisting pathway by studying this man’s life and reading his soul-searching book of Psalms. David teaches us that our God is there with us in the midst of our trials. He comforts, guides, teaches and sustains us. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us (Psalm 23:4).
David’s psalms help us to think differently about our tribulations – and about our triumphant Lord. Robert C. McQuilkin once gave a message on Psalm 23 telling his listeners that many of our problems are the result of our saying, “The Lord is my Shepherd, but I have this or that problem.” McQuilkin continued to say that we should put it differently: “I have this or that problem, but the Lord is my Shepherd.”
When we face trials, we need to remember who God is. He has promised to care for us as a shepherd cares for his sheep in green pastures and by still waters. He’s the Keeper of our lives, and His goodness and mercy follow us all our days.
David also teaches us to pray earnestly. In Psalm 18:6, he recounted the harrowing experience of being pursued by King Saul and the Israeli army: “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”
The young fugitive went on to say that when God came to help him, it seemed that the earth shook and the hills quaked, for the Lord of heaven and earth was on a divine mission to answer his prayers.
If you’re facing a bend in your life right now, think of it as an opportunity to cry out to God. Read Psalm 18 and visualize God shaking the earth to help you. He wants to turn your problems into prayers, and your prayers into praise, as we read in verse 46: “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
When we come to a bend in the road, we also have to yield the right-of-way to God. He knows what’s around the corner, and He knows at what speed the curve should be taken. As David said in Psalm 31:14-15: “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand; deliver me.”
The psalmist’s writings also teach us to praise joyfully, knowing that God reigns on His throne. David said in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Someone once said that the Christian should always have two books near – the Bible and a hymnbook. King David didn’t have a hymnbook, so he wrote his own. It is the book of Psalms, and in it we learn to praise the Lord when our pathways are straight and when they aren’t.
Are you facing a bend in the road today? Remember the shepherd boy, David. He faced one bend after another, and he left a lot of signposts for us to follow in the psalms. Follow his example, and learn to think differently, pray earnestly, wait patiently and praise joyfully.
Rejoice in Him who can make the crooked ways straight and the rough patches smooth.