Fleeing the comfort and protection of home, betrayed by the son once so beloved, the bedraggled figure shoulders stooped, eyes barely seeing the next step clouded by tears, stumbled along the path. Breath shortened by the tightness gripping weary lungs, helplessly wondering, “how to trust God in the midst of this suffocating anxiety?
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
the faithful are not exempt from anxiety
King David heart heavy, broken, yet pounding forcefully in his chest, fought swirling thoughts fraught with anguish while his ears received the assault of curses. Confusion, self-condemnation and fear for those in his care hung heavy upon him as he trudged through the hill country just outside of Jerusalem.
This man after God’s own heart, giant killer and fierce man of war struggled with anxiety. His psalms often poignantly portrayed his anguish in language so vivid, every reader connects their travail with his.
Scripture reveals many faithful servants who battled anxiety, not because they sinned more than anyone else, but because their broken humanity faced the pressures of life’s harsh realities.
freedom in trusting
The number of people afflicted with anxiety increases almost daily, and despite comments to the contrary, Christians hold no special immunity to it. In fact Proverbs 12:25 clearly speaks of anxiety, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.”
Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 4:6 urges believers toward a posture where they trust God with their anxiety without condemnation. Paul provides an alternative to anxiety, pointing to God’s all sufficiency, willingness to provide for His own and the promise of a peace no other remedy offers.
Jesus, our great High Priest, suffered anxiety in the Garden of Gethsemane: He fully understands your plight and like David, guides His beloved to the freedom of trusting God with anxiety.
anxiety, upheaval and grief
Penned from the emotion of fleeing his son, Absalom, (2 Samuel 15)David not only faced the betrayal of his son, but of many others choosing to follow Absalom. Even the best imagination fails in filling in the details of emotion experienced by David in fleeing his home, his throne, his people, all while confronting subversive tactics, curses of others and the sure threat of ensuing battle.
David offers three “Selahs” or pauses revealing how to trust God with your anxiety in Psalm 3, as we follow him from anxiety ridden defeat to freedom filled rest in the Lord.
How to trust god with your anxiety
The backdrop contributing to the writing of Psalm 3, as we mentioned, surfaced from Absalom’s insurrection. Brewing for no little while, Absalom, fueled by his bitterness over David’s neglect in punishing his brother Amnon’s treatment of his sister Tamar and faliure in properly reconciling their estrangement after he subsequently killed Amnon; amassed a large following of others disgruntled with King David.
As any Bible scholar knows, David, though a man after God’s own heart, possessed not a few faults. That he mishandled family affairs, contributing to Absalom’s revolt clearly portrays him in less than a favorable light.
We might even conclude he brought the whole matter upon himself, lock, stock and anxiety. And as such, disqualified himself from God’s intervention on his behalf: but the beauty of the three “Selahs” of Psalm 3 speak otherwise.
a closer look at three selahs
David sets the tone for the extent of his anxiety and overwhelm in verses one and two:
Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” SelahPsalm 3:1-2
Anxiety Poured Out Before God
David invites us into his overwhelm, painting a picture of his feelings of isolation and abandonment. Often, in the midst of anxiety my thoughts run in the same vein, adding to the overhelm already existant.
David also faces the result of his self-inflicted situation in the condemnation of others’ comments: not even God will help him now.
But notice, he ends these verses with a “Selah”; pausing, sitting with the immensity of the situation along with all of the emotions. From a place of quiet realization of his situation before God, David transitions to the reality of who God is in the same situation in verse 3.
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.Psalm 3:3
Despite his culpability in the situation and the scoffing of those around him, David arrays the situation before God, pausing in His Presence. From this place he moves from despair to hope-filled courage, boldly petitioning God in verse 4.
I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. SelahPsalm 3:4
God Hears His Own
David in confidence of both God’s idenity and His own before Him, cries unto the Lord for deliverance, ending with another “Selah”. For me, I view this Selah as an astonished pause; one born out of knowledge of my undeserving state, yet God answers me.
But the forceful, confidence filled language of the remainder of the psalm reveals the depth of David’s relationship with God. David knew his own unworthiness, yet he knew God’s abundant mercy and forgiveness more intimately. This “Selah” for David indicated the triumph of knowing God hears him. As a result of this pause he moves into verses 5-6.
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around.Psalm 3:5-6
From a place of communion with God, David’s heart moves to trust God with his anxiety, rather than believing the hopelessness of his situation or the lies of others. Resulting in complete rest and the removal of fears for the future.
David then moves to the final two verses of the psalm, with an invitation to a final “Selah”.
Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. SelahPsalm 3:7-8
God’s Sure Salvation
In the final “Selah”, David petitions God for full salvation from his enemies springing from the knowledge that salvation comes solely from the Lord rather than any human action or remedy because God’s blessing rests continually upon His people.
An audacious pause, David knew not the outcome of the situation with Absalom, but he knew the One who did, and trusted Him with the unknown future. David bids all bound by anxiety and overwhelm join him at the throne of grace, for God’s sure salvation belongs to all who call upon His name.
trusting god transforms your anxiety
Walking with David through Psalm 3, invites you come, no matter the source of anxiety, pour all at the feet of God. Linger in His Presence, seen as His beloved, heard as the treasure of His heart, loved recipient of His sure salvation, freely offered to His own.
Cast off the garment of heaviness and allow the Light of God’s Presence to transform fear and anxiety into greater faith and deeper trust in God. Selah.