Text: Psalm 31:1-24

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” Psalm 31:24

As a child growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, I experienced my share of snowstorms. When the snowplows came through the mall parking lots, they would push the snow into piles around the street light poles. We would subsequently shape these frosty mounds into little quinzees. These makeshift fortresses became places of refuge during fierce snowball fights.

Psalm 31 begins with David saying, “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge.” The Hebrew text in this passage carries the meaning of fleeing for protection, to put trust and confidence in a fortress, or to seek a house of defense.

David needed such a place of refuge. This particular psalm was written in a time of great distress and grief. He’s facing a plot against his life. His friends have all abandoned him. He’s drained and weary—at the end of his rope. He’s become a “reproach” to his neighbors and an “object of dread” to his acquaintances (v.11).

David feels… forgotten.

He likens this feeling to “one who is dead.” He’s not just having a bad day. This is a long wintry season of distress. You ever had one of those?

Despite this cold season, David has deep trust in the character and “abundant” goodness of God (v.19). He did not ask God to rescue him because he thought himself to be good, but for Your name’s sake (v.3). He is confident that just as God has been a faithful refuge in the past, so He will be again. Why? Because God will always act for the glory of His name and He will never leave His servants in a pit of shame (v.17). He believes in God’s steadfast love—that God will not let anything—anything—touch him that cannot be redeemed for good (vv.7, 16, 21). This led him to submissively say, “My times are in your hand” (v.15).

David has words of encouragement for us in such seasons of distress (v.24):

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

God has never changed. He is still faithful today. We can confidently expect Him to act on our behalf as well. Let not the enemy undermine your confidence in the goodness of God’s character and the faithfulness of His steadfast love. This psalm began with a desperate plea but ended with unbridled praise—an unyielding declaration of trust in His God in a severe time of trouble. God wants to be our quinzee in the storms of life. He wants us to find refuge in Him during those times of distress and uncertainty. He meets us in that place where we feel forgotten, and we know that we are not alone. Take courage as you seek to abide in Him, beloved.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, be our Refuge in those winter storms. Remind us of your faithfulness. How abundant is Your goodness, O Lord, which You have stored up for those who fear You. Let us have great confidence in Your unchanging nature. Help us to be of good courage, to have our hearts strengthened with grace, and to be emboldened by hope. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:

  1. What served as a childhood refuge for you?
  2. When have you experienced a season like the one David faced in this psalm?
  3. Have you ever felt forgotten by God or friends?
  4. Why do you think David had courage in such a time of distress?
  5. In what ways can you turn your pleas into praise for God’s unfailing love?

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Jimmy is a speaker, author, and founder of Breakaway Outreach; a missions network aimed at empowering the lives of youth, children, and under-served communities with gospel transformation and social resilience.