We all do it and we all are harmed for it. There is never a good outcome nor is anything helpful produced. In fact, it drags us down and traps us in fear, worry and unbelief. It is a slough of despond, murky waters filled with evil and despair. What common malady brings such dangerous things to our hearts?
It’s focusing on the seen rather than the unseen. It’s walking by sight rather than faith. It’s believing lies rather than truth and this rampant peril flourishes wildly in our day.
But it is not a fresh, new danger thrust upon us by our technological world or Satan. No, even ancient psalmists struggled tremendously with this human problem.
Look at Psalm 10. In the first 11 verses, the psalmist is observing evil around him, lamenting over it, panicked about it, accusing God of ignoring it. He’s walking by sight and believing lies about God. He’s fearful over the evil he sees, as well he should be, if God isn’t present and active. But then, he remembers something vital.
In verse 12, he remembers to pray; he remembers to Whom he should be praying and in Whom he should be believing. He asks something of God. This brings about a tremendous refocusing of his practice of viewing only the dreadful situation, and feeling panic and fear.
The psalmist focuses on truth. He remembers the truth of the scriptures. He ponders truth about God as is found only in the scriptures. He reminds himself that God does see every evil and every good event. He reminds himself God has all power to take these situations and turn them around, to punish the evildoer, to make right from wrong. He reminds himself God is the One to whom the helpless go, for He helps those in need. He reminds himself God is the helper of the orphan. He is compassionate and loving to those who are dependent upon Him. These true thoughts help him overcome walking by sight, fear and despondency. And they successfully combat the lies he’s believed about God.
In verses 16-18 He recites truth: The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
Compare his final words above to his beginning lament from verse 1: Why O LORD do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Do you see the drastic change that has taken place in his heart? Hopelessness was defeated by truth. Despair was overcome by truth. Looking only at circumstances was changed to looking at the Changer of circumstances. Focus is everything!
Today, do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God and His Son. Do the hard work of focusing on truth as found in the Word of God, not your circumstances. The One who calls you His own, if you believe in His Son, is present, king forever, listening to your cry, able to strengthen you in this trial, will execute justice and will ultimately remove all those who strike terror into the hearts of His children. What a lovely day that will be!