This morning on my school run, I sighted fuel queues and I groaned thinking NOT AGAIN! On my way back home I drove through three empty filling stations and before long someone had put the notice up on a group chat that the queues were back.

A couple of weeks ago the fuel scarcity situation and some road work going on near where I reside in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, had resulted in brutally crippling traffic. People were spending three hours on a journey that would normally take them about ten to fifteen minutes. It was a nightmare. And then I made up my mind that I would not be frustrated, and anytime I felt the stirring of the feeling of frustration, I would start chanting Psalms 34: 1. “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalms 34: 1 KJV

Incidentally, this psalm was written by David, the son of Jesse who was fleeing from Saul, when he sought refuge with Achish (Abimelech) the king of Gath. When the king’s men recognized David as the “one who killed tens of thousands as opposed to Saul’s thousands”, and that he might gang up against them being Philistines, David began to pretend that he was a lunatic; in order to save himself and Achish (Abimilech) sent him away. There is no doubt that they were trying times for David. Though he was already chosen by God and anointed by Samuel to be king of Israel after Saul, the fact remained that Saul was still king and had access to all of Israel‘s military might. And Saul had become David’s enemy, hunting him down. Achish had just turned out the light at the end of the tunnel that David was hoping to run into when he refused to accommodate David. David must have known he was entirely on his own at this point. Yet he did not take up a lamentation or start to blame God for being slow to bring His promise to pass. He began to praise God.

David was in a desperate situation but he saw fit to praise God. His case seemed hopeless at this time but he saw fit to bless the Lord because: He knew God and trusted Him. He knew whom he believed. “which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what he has entrusted to me.” 2 Timothy 1: 12 ESV  David knew that his day as king of Israel would come because God said it and he believed it. So while he was waiting and while he was facing all kinds of obstacles, he praised God. When we know God we will not be moved and shaken by all that is going on around us. That is not to say that we are unfeeling, uncaring or cold hearted. It just means that we are guarding our hearts.  “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4: 23 NLT The more we allow wave after wave of the evil out there to find its way into our hearts, the more we set ourselves up for all kinds of negativity. We already know there is hardship and evil in the land and that there is a war going on in Ukraine. I trust that most of us pray and believe that God will miraculously bring an end to all these things and wipe our tears. Yet if we spend day after day exposing ourselves to the havoc, the conspiracy theories and arguments about who is right or wrong, then we will eventually lose our peace of mind. For peace does not come from knowing all the details of what is going on. We will only become aggravated and frustrated.  Rather “You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you (Him), all those whose thoughts are fixed on you! (God)” Isaiah 26:3 NLT

As David could not go back to face Saul and as Achish the king of Gath refused him refuge, he turned his focus to God and began to praise Him.  We can do the same.

Even when it looks like there is no way out, let us focus on God and praise Him.