When Bad Things Happen to God’s People – The Child of God Walking in Darkness

Christian, are you burdened?  This sermon by Paul Dowling is full of encouragement for those who are going through very trying times.  It is a long read, but worth it.

Psalm 55.
Focusing on V22 “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” What is this psalm about? What experiences does this psalm delineate and explain to the child of God? “Betrayed”.. This psalm was written by King David when he was betrayed by his son Absolom. It was written at the time of rebellion among God’s covenant people in Jerusalem. We see in this psalm an expression of the broken heart of King David. We see the great anxiety and stress and pain which David’s heavy burden thrusts upon him. “The child of God walking in darkness.” How relevant is this, because God’s people do not live every day in sunshine. Sometimes the sun of the Christian life is hidden by the clouds of a storm. This psalm helps those who are at the extremities of experience. This man of God is in extreme anguish of soul. Have you ever felt like this?

1. Condition of God’s child. V1 “Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.” God’s child wants to be listened to..not primarily talked to, but listened to by God.

2. V2 “Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise” Mourn means overcome, restless. Make a noise means distraught. Moral is very low, he is overcome and driven to distraction. Serious anxiety and depression.

3. V4-5 “My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” He has inward emotional pain. Fearfulness has come upon him. Depression has come upon him. Deep emotional pain, overwhelming feelings have come upon him.

4. V6-8 “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would haste my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” I wish I was a bird, I would fly away from all problems, a desire to avoid the burden of the trial. These verses teach that the psalmist wants to flee from the problem he was faced with. It doesn’t bring peace, the problem is still there.

5. V12-15 “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” The psalmist is feeling betrayed, it was an equal, an acquaintance, someone he went to the house of God with, someone he took advice from that betrayed him. This has caused grief, sadness and anger as well. That is what happens when someone is betrayed by someone they know and love.

That is a child of God walking in darkness. If you have ever felt any of these things, or many of these things, do not feel isolated or strange because King David felt the same way and he was a man after God’s own heart.

What were the circumstances that led to this condition? A special kind of enemy. His enemy is casting iniquity upon him. “tipping over” iniquity upon him. He is implicating the man of God, setting him up. Slandering the man of God, accusing him of sin. A good friend betrayed him, someone he trusted. David’s trusted advisor and counselor betrayed him, and his son betrayed him, whom he loved.

What led to these circumstances? V20-21 “He hath put forth hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” A covenant breaker, those who betrayed King David were smooth talkers to his face, their words were smoother than butter but they were deceitful. War was in their hearts. Their words were drawn swords. That would lead any brother or sister in Christ to depression. A deceitful backbiting person, a person who whispers behind your back but puts on a show when they see you face to face. These are hurtful circumstances, burdensome things.

But we do not have to experience the same things.. anything could lead to the child of God walking in darkness. Death, grief, sickness could lead to an anxious, fearful, depressed time, a desire to escape, grief, sadness and anger and mixed emotions. Crisis events lead to that.

What to do about it? V16-17 “As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” Three times a day seems to be a regular pattern that David committed himself to in times of crisis. Daniel did the same, three times a day in prayer. This is the first course of action. David is calling on God, difference between saying your prayers and crying to God.. an almighty God who can change the situation. Not vain repetition that the “religious” do. David was calling on God from his heart.

When you go to your closet to pray, pray until you really pray..

What is the child of God to do? V22 “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Cast your burden? What does that mean? Whatever is appointed to you in your life, cast that on the LORD. Jehovah Yahweh, all-powerful God. How do you do that? Spurgeon gives three stages:

1. Trace your burden back to God, the one who has ordered the events of your life. God planned for you to bear this burden and until you admit that it was God that planned that you, you must bear it, and then when you see that;

2. Wait, be patient, see if God will remove it. As the Lord wills, I will bear it. When it is his time to deliver me I will be delivered. But until then I will bear it.

3. Accept that it is for your good. That is hard sometimes. It is from the loving hand of God and it is his will that you bear this burden for your good and for his glory. We know that “all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Some say they have left it with God and then they fret about it. Is that trusting the God and leaving it with him? If you truly love God, it will be proof of your love to rest your care upon Him without question. If you do so you will be unburdened and your heart will be at rest.

Sustenance: God will sustain you, he will feed you, he will nourish you. To keep you in existence. He will not carry you,, he will sustain you. You will not be moved away from God. Like a tree in the wind, the storm comes but the tree’s deep roots keep it to not be moved out of its place though leaves and twigs might fall..

There is no cheap fix remedy for problems and burdens. You know that God is sovereign, he is in control, he planned this for you specifically, and he planned that you would be in darkness for this moment, the only comfort is in God’s sovereign power and his good heart towards those that are his, for our good..


The above notes were made by myself from the sermon by Paul Dowling of Whiteabbey Congregational (Reformed) at Sermon Audio.  Link:



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