Have you ever been in a situation when you felt weak or vulnerable, hoping for someone to support you, but that person failed to be there? Did you ever share your heart with a friend whom you trusted, only to find out that person wasn’t really your friend and had been gossiping behind your back? Have you ever placed your hope in a goal which you thought would make you really happy, but it backfired and left you feeling disappointed and empty?
I still remember that group project in university, when various teammates were supposed to put in effort for the research and presentation. However some of them said they were busy and had no time to do their part, so they pushed their workload to the rest of us instead. It was not only disappointing, but it also took time to recover when that trust was lost. Sometimes, it seems easier to just depend on myself and work things out alone. However, with life’s ebb and flow, full of ups and downs, there has also been a longing for someone who is trustworthy and constant — someone on whom I can always depend.
Psalm 71 provides an encouraging perspective while battling such struggles in life. The writer of this psalm seems to be in danger of being attacked by enemies who prey on his weaknesses. He asks for deliverance “from the hand of the wicked” (v. 4) — enemies who are plotting to kill or harm him (vv. 10, 13, 24). He turns his eyes heavenward, crying out for help, praying for God to rescue him from these cruel enemies.
What’s amazing is that in the midst of such bleakness, the psalmist keeps praising God as the One he trusts. Throughout the psalm, he makes bold declarations of his confidence in and reliance on God. He says in verse 5, “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.” This is the unshakable One on whom the psalmist depended throughout the years, from the time he was young. The psalmist also proclaims God’s attribute of righteousness, and clings on to God as his Refuge, Rock and Fortress (vv. 3, 7). Even in the midst of danger, tiredness and emotional strain, the psalmist does not blame God or doubt His goodness. He ends up praising God so much more (v. 14) and desires to proclaim God’s wondrous deeds to another generation (vv. 15–18)!
It may seem like the psalmist has the gift of great faith, but I think the reason why he can place such confidence in God is because he knows God can be trusted. Since his youth, the psalmist has had an authentic relationship with God (v. 17), and God has proven Himself over the years to be mighty, faithful and trustworthy. This doesn’t mean that God had shielded the psalmist from pain and suffering, as we read in verse 20 that the psalmist had actually seen many troubles and calamities. Yet, because God is trustworthy and constant, the psalmist can place his confidence in Him for all the days of his life.
This God whom the psalmist trusted is the same God that we can choose to trust today. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been going to church your whole life, or you’re a new believer. The important thing to ask is, “How much have you placed your confidence in God?” My prayer for you is that you’ll be able to know God personally and hence entrust your whole life to Him, for He is the most trustworthy Friend that one can ever have.