David is in trouble.
King Saul is hunting David, and Saul fully intends to kill him when he is found.
The game of cat and mouse between the two of them lasted four grueling years. On several occasions, the King was very close to capturing David and his men. We’ve been going through a psalm that David wrote in response to one of those times.
Up to this point in the psalm, David has cried out to God for grace and refuge. But this time, Saul was pressing in close. David could even recognize that there were various traps laid out for him:
They prepared a net for my steps;
I was downcast.
They dug a pit ahead of me…
When David says I was downcast, the literal translation is my life bends low. We’re not told at what point during the four years of running that this psalm was written…but you can almost hear the weariness in David’s voice. He didn’t know that it would end after four years, so I’m certain that after two, or three, or more years of being on the run…David would have had times when he was feeling very low to ground.
It’s the not knowing that makes the trials so hard.
If David knew that he had to just survive for four years, then he could find a way to rely on himself to make it. Given his military expertise, David certainly could have drawn up a four year plan to keep himself alive.
But that’s the problem – knowing how long we need to survive a tough situation puts the focus directly on ourselves.
God doesn’t tell us the future, or even let us in on how long our current trial will last, because He wants us to trust Him with the future. Jesus said something similar to His disciples:
John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
Jesus didn’t give His disciples a timeline for how long they would experience suffering. Instead, He gave them Himself.
When we feel our lives bending low to the ground, don’t ask how much longer – just ask Jesus to come in closer.