As a student, I participated in a job experience program for a few weeks at a local newspaper office. One evening, I took the stairs to the building lobby instead of the elevator, but found as the heavy door latched behind me, it would not reopen. With mounting panic and racing heart, I tried every exit door on the landings below, but each was also locked soundly. My shoulders tightened with fear and my throat constricted. Finally, the last doorway to the lobby was open, and I burst through it with relief. There was no one around; I may have been trapped in that stairwell for a while before someone heard me.
David, the writer of Psalm 69, knew what it was like to be in big trouble: “Answer my prayers, O Lord, for Your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for Your mercy is plentiful. Don’t hide from Your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!” (Psalm 69:16-17 ESV). Often our troubles aren’t of our own doing. David, feeling his life was out of control, poured out his despair to God in prayer. Only so much in life is under our control, but if we believe God is control continually, we won’t question His sovereign plans. Do we question Him when things don’t go the way we like?
The best response is to go to the Lord first in prayer, when we feel overwhelmed: Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7 ESV) It’s a picture of unloading all our troubles into His care, and then just walking away without a backward glance. We can trust God to carry the load, because He is in control, wiser than us, full of mercy, purely righteous, and with an infinite supply of love to give away. Our response is to trust His timing completely, for His love and grace to tide us over the problem, and to be released from it at the right time. We may not enjoy the waiting period, but know that He loves to douse us mercy when it’s needed the most.
“Then will I praise God’s name with singing, and I will honour Him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord…..the humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the Lord hears the cries of the needy; He does not despise His imprisoned people.” (Psalm 69:30-33 ESV) While we wait for deliverance, His love and mercy can be our focus. Whether caught in a locked stairwell, or in a problem that lasts much longer, we can know God like David did, and trust Him for His power and wise purposes. He is there to comfort us in every circumstance; we may get tired of the trials, but He never tires of buoying us up and rescuing during trying times.