Monday, March 28, 2022

God’s Goodness in Trials (Psalm 34)

"The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34:18).

During our study of the Psalms, we have often encountered the theme of God’s goodness—how He providentially cares for the world and protects His people. Despite this focus in David’s writings, he does not refrain from describing the difficulties and struggles that overshadowed his life. How, then, could David praise God for His goodness when he faced seemingly insurmountable trials? This question, no doubt, has crept into the minds of many believers who are confronted with struggles in their own lives. How can it be that God cares about His people when they are continually harassed with so many calamities and afflictions?

Too often God’s goodness becomes obscure to those who are facing failing health, a broken marriage, or the death of a child. They begin asking, Where is God’s goodness in the face of such soul-wrenching miseries? David instructs us in the answer to such questions in Psalm 34 where we are reminded that although God governs His people and provides for their well-being, they are not necessarily promised deliverance from trials and temptations in this life, but they do have that hope ultimately for the life to come. They are exposed to many miseries now in order to be tested and strengthened by God as Peter said in the opening of his first letter (1 Peter 1:3–9). In doing this, He has promised ultimate deliverance in redemption: “The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned” (Psalm 34:22).

By enduring afflictions, believers understand more fully God’s blessed deliverance from sin. Calvin, who understood what it meant to face trials daily, wrote: “If they were exempted from every kind of trial, their faith would languish, they would cease to call upon God, and their piety would remain hidden and unknown.” It is necessary that believers experience the miseries of this life that they may gain greater insight into God’s preservation of His people.

David exhorts us never to lose courage because God will remain faithful. Christ assures us that the very hairs of our head are numbered. The Lord knows what is best for us, where our faith needs to be strengthened, and what trials we must endure that we may truly know His goodness and trust in His wisdom.

Read Romans 8:28–39. Is the promise that God works for the good of all who love Him hard to swallow when you’re facing difficulties? What other promises are given in this passage? If you are dealing with a trial now or have in the past, commit it to God and praise Him for His faithfulness.