8 Encouraging Psalms for strength in tough times
“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”1 Samuel 30:6 (NKJV)
The entire chapter of 1 Samuel 30 tells of a very encouraging and powerful story. David and his men returned from war to their home and saw that their whole city had been burned with fire by the Amalekites and their wives and children taken away as captives.
“Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.“1 Samuel 30:4
The men were devastated and had every right to be. Let’s be honest, men generally don’t cry (at least not in public). But these men wept-they sobbed, wailed, grieved and mourned until they didn’t have the power to keep crying.
In their grieving, they felt they needed someone to blame and who better that their leader David. These men must have thought that if they hadn’t been out with David, none of this would have happened. They would have defended their city and families had they been present.
So, they started to plot about killing David. My favorite part in the story is right after David realized his own men were turning against him and planning to betray him. David’s response is remarkable and inspirational- “He encouraged Himself in the Lord”
Tough times are never easy
Have you ever been through tough times? Have you been betrayed by those you love? Have things happened in your life that were so unexpected that you didn’t know if you will ever recover?
All this can cause us to lose the strength to go on with life. We lose hope for the future. Joy is lost and replaced with fear and anxiety. Doubt in ourselves and doubt in God sets in. Ultimately we feel weak, discouraged and with no strength physically, mentally and spiritually.
David, a great example
But can we take a leaf from David’s life? When all hope seemed to be lost, when all his friends had turned against him, when he possibly had no home because the city had been burned down, when he had lost his family (his 2 wives had been captured)– David strengthened and encouraged himself in the Lord.
It’s great to get encouragement from friends and family and from the body of Christ. But I believe God wants us to look to Him as our main source of strength especially in tough times.
Since David wrote most of the Psalms- it’s an amazing and honest book to offer us words of encouragement and strength in tough times.
8 Encouraging Psalms for strength in tough times
1. Psalm 121:1-2
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
This is one of my favorite Psalms to hold on to in hard seasons. We don’t focus down and pity ourselves in tough times but we look up confidently.
We look unto our Helper who is on the Hills-on Calvary-on the Cross-His name is Jesus Christ.
He is the Creator of heaven and earth, the author and finisher of our faith and when He died on the cross, He said “It is finished”.
All enemies are under His feet, including death. He has all the power. He has overcome the world and all the problems and challenges we will face in it.
So, in tough times, we look to Him to strengthen us because that is what He died for- for us to live a victorious life in Him.
2. Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
The flesh is weak and our hearts are deceptive. In tough times, they will fail us. Our hearts and minds will feed us lies from the devil in tough times.
You know the lies:
- God doesn’t love you, He doesn’t care about you. If He did, why would He let you go through this tough situation?
- You will never recover from this
- It’s over for you
- No one cares about you
- You are a failure
That is when the narrative has to change for us as believers. That is where the story changes. Just like for David. But God is our strength, He is our heritage. Not only for a moment or season, but forever. That means-always. He will always be there for us to carry us when life is hard.
3. Psalm 119:28
“My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.“
When our souls and hearts are heavy and we feel weak and powerless, the Lord will strengthen us with His Word. And the Word of God is Jesus Christ Himself.
Reading the Word of God is meeting with Jesus. Spending time in His Word, reading the Psalms and other passages will remind us of what a powerful and mighty God we serve.
4. Psalm 59:16
“But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.“
We sing and rejoice in the Lord because we know He is merciful towards us. He is the one we run to in tough times because He is all powerful.
He is the Mighty warrior who defends us and fights all our battles. In Him, victory over problems is certain.
5. Psalm 18:1-2
“ I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
We love the Lord because He loved us first and proved it. We love Him for He strengthens us and delivers us from our enemies and from tough situations.
We can trust in God because we know He is for us, He is within us and He goes before us.
6. Psalm 62:1-2
“Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.”
We’re not discouraged when we trust whole-heartedly in God. He is the Ultimate Savior of our lives. Even in tough times we fix our gaze upon Him, waiting for Him to strengthen us.
He is the rock that we can lean on when we feel weak. In Him, we will not be shaken or moved but will stand firm in our faith.
7. Psalm 28:7
“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.“
God is our strength and protector. Our hearts need to trust Him that He will help us through what we’re going through. He will help us and give us strength. We can rejoice in Him when we remember that ‘This too shall pass’.
We can praise Him because He always leads us to victory. We can rejoice in Him because we know He has rescued us before from tough times and He will do it again.
8. Psalm 22:19
“But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me;
O My Strength, hasten to help Me!“
When we’re going through tough times, we need to call upon God to be close to us, to be with us and to come and help us quickly. The Lord is always faithful to answer our prayers in times of need. He is our strength to carry on.
Back to David
When you read the rest of 1 Samuel 30, you learn that David did pray to God and asked God if he should fight the Amalekites and if victory was certain and God’s answer was a resounding YES!
So David did have victory and recovered EVERYTHING that had been stolen from him and his people. So the story does have a happy ending.
My encouragement to you
Life is tough. And being a believer in God doesn’t exempt us from tough seasons. The difference is we have hope and that hope is in Jesus Christ. When we go though the hard times He will carry us and strengthen us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is for us.
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the King of kings who is all powerful. Victory belongs to You. You are mighty and my ever present help. You are my refuge in times of trouble. Forgive me for not trusting in you during the tough times of my life.
From today onwards, teach me to look unto you for strength in the hard seasons. May I be able to encourage myself in the Lord. May I remember that your Word will strengthen me. Thank you that you are my Helper, Savior and friend.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.