By Sean Bess
We can find courage and hope to endure all things because the powerful presence of our God goes with us.
King David’s life testified to the fact that God is an ever-present helper to His people. When we are overwhelmed by life’s troubles we may reach for our phones, though our phone calls to friends go unanswered. When at a crucial impasse we may seek the advice of trusted confidantes, but our text messages might go unseen. But God is always present and available and attentive—if only we’d turn to Him (2Timothy 4:16–18).
God was with David as he stood alone and protected his father’s sheep from predators the likes of lions and bears (1Samuel 17:34–36). God was with David when he and his fellow Israelites stood outmanned and outgunned before the opposing Philistine army and their giant, Goliath (1Samuel 17). God was with David when King Saul turned his ire against David and conspired to kill him (1Samuel 19). And God was even with David following David’s illicit tryst with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah (2Samuel 12). Without fail, God is a helper who is always found in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1), even when that trouble is of our own concocting.
As the saying goes, “The shepherd smells like his sheep.” And rest assured, our Shepherd certainly smells like His sheep, because our God is unfailingly present among us. He is with His sheep, abiding with us and among us in the fields as we rest without a care in the world; He quiets us with His peace, but He also delights and rejoices in our very existence (Zephaniah 3:17). He is with His sheep among life’s dangerous crags, and more than that, He is faithful to gather us from the hazardous cliffs of this earthly life (Isaiah 40:11). And perhaps most profoundly, He is with His sheep in the darkness and in the mud, and He even helps us navigate our way out of the troubles that we create for ourselves (Matthew 18:12).
David may have been king, but he was also once a shepherd, and he could clearly recall with great detail the duties of that former occupation. Perhaps he remembered the panicked bleating of his herd when a lion or bear would draw near, but also the trust his herd had in him and the calm that came over them when he was present. He himself knew the faithful presence of God. David knew that while everyone else may desert him, the Lord would remain, strengthening him to carry out his calling, but also tending to his own heart’s needs, rescuing him from evil when he strayed, and then bringing him safely back into the safety of His presence (2Timothy 4:16–18).
Even in life’s bleakest moments and most unfavorable conditions, even when predators the likes of lions and bears are stalking nearby—“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble “like these, so there is no need to be afraid (Psalm 46:1–3). Even if the ground we’re on seems to quake and give way, our God is with us and His presence supplies us with hope and courage against any odds.
Written by Sean Bess