David, former King of Israel, wrote all kinds of poems, and, lucky him, many of them were published in the Bible. In his poems, he continually gives us prime examples of the difference between suffering because of evil and suffering because of good.
Here is what it is like to suffer because of evil: “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head” (Psalm 7:14-16).
In the above verse, we see that suffering for evil is kind of like karma in a way. If we do bad things to others, those same bad things will come back to nip us in the bud. Often, our own evil will treat us the way it treats other people.
On the other hand, sometimes we suffer for no apparent reason. So, when that happens, how should we act? Should we get mad at God? Should we kick and scream and throw things? No, doing that won’t do any good. In fact, if we throw things, there’s a good chance that something will get broken, like a window—which will add to the trouble. What we should do is act like David.
Many of David’s poems start out with something like this: “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes” (Psalm 6:6-8).
Sounds like a lot of suffering, right? But David wasn’t suffering because he had done evil. He was suffering because his enemies had him surrounded. They were all plotting against him, waiting for the right time to strike. So how does David deal with it? Well, with every poem that he starts out writing about suffering, he ends it like this: “Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace” (Psalm 6:8-10).
What did David do? He prayed to the Lord and in his prayer he found faith in God. So, his emotional suffering ended right then and there as he remembered that his faith, his protection, and his life was in Jesus Christ.
Ironically, it wasn’t uncommon for David to fall right back into his moaning and crying after a few days or few weeks or whenever the next problem would hit. But, truthfully, there is nothing wrong with that. David was human, like us. When trouble is all around us, we will want to cry. But instead of crying to our friends or our family members, let’s do what David did. Let’s cry to Jesus. That way we will be reminded that God is still God and he will eventually come save us.
And the more we move forward in prayer with Jesus, the more our faith will be strengthened. How? Not because eventually we will grow up and just learn to live broken, defeated lives. But because God will show up and rescue us time after time, unfailingly. We will see it with our own eyes. We will live it. Every time we get into trouble, Jesus will show up and pull us out. He did it for David and he will do it for us!
After God delivers us from our trouble, let’s also do what David did. His poems went from crying to praising: “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. My enemies turn back: they stumble and perish before you. For you have upheld my right and my cause” (Psalm 9:1-4).