King David understood stress. He began his royal life with the sitting monarch, Saul, pursuing him in a blind, jealous rage. Were it not for the loyal friendship of Saul’s son Jonathon, and some providential help from God, a king named David might be absent from the biblical record. Later, David brought trouble on himself through an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. Then his own son, Absalom, tried to steal his kingdom. All of this was in addition to the normal pressure any king faces in keeping the peace and defending his kingdom from its enemies.
Some of David’s Psalms reflect his journey into the valley of despair, and the pain of a broken spirit. Others rejoice that God had restored order to his life and given him the confidence to move forward. In Psalm 27:1-2 he writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.” (Psalm 27:1-2)
We look back on David’s experiences and, while we may not always agree with his behavior, we are able to make sense of the outcome. God used everything for His purpose and glory. But imagine what it was like for David at the time. He knew God was with him, but he had also seen Saul lose his throne. David must have spent many sleepless, tearful nights wondering if he would still have a kingdom when the sun rose, or if he would continue to be the man to whom God entrusted His work.
There are many sources of anxiety, but perhaps the uncertainty of life is at the top of, or near the top of the list. If we knew how life was going to turn out we could prepare more adequately, but since we don’t, we fret. We have also been around long enough to know many of our concerns are well-founded.