I live in two different worlds at the same time; it’s easy to see these contrasts when considering Psalms 9 and 10. Psalm 9 begins with praise and Psalm 10 begins with despair. Even Psalm 10 is sharply divided between hostility and discouragement (10:1–11) and hope and encouragement (10:12–18). Simply said, the discouragement comes from walking by sight.
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Ps 10:1)
I wish I could grow beyond these extremes but, perhaps, the tension will remain until the here and now is eternally replaced by there and then. Until that time, I must try to remember that when the Lord appears to be standing far away or hiding in times of trouble, acting in a way that is just not like him, to allow my faith to overrule my sight.
Lord, one of the most beautiful things about the psalms is its honesty. Help me live by faith today and let the “whys” remain unanswered.
O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me (Ps 7:1)
David finds his Lord a refuge, a hiding place, a safe place. The Hebrew word can also be personalized to confidant. He runs to the Lord where he finds safety and someone in whom to confide.
The word refuge is used more than 100 times, mostly in the Psalms, which is a lesson itself. Life requires the place of refuge. It is likely the one place where we are totally real and allowed to be fully human. It is where our Lord takes us in his arms and settles us. No other place or person can be our refuge when life caves in.
Lord, you alone are my refuge; you provide a safe place where I can be who I am today. Thank you for your welcoming, strong arms. Help me cultivate serenity through a time of solitude with you.
The journey from anxiety to assurance means traveling down the road of prayer and trust in God. Psalm 3 is a morning psalm; Psalm 4 is an evening psalm. I find it encouraging to remember that the Jewish day begins with the evening. The former day is settled and the new one is approached with confidence and trust.
I don’t need to carry the day’s events and struggles to bed with me. I need not wake to them in the morning, either. Perhaps that is what is meant by Psalm 1:2.
…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Lord, help me remember to bring all my moments to you and leave them with you. Thank you for coming into my journey and walking beside me. May the peace that you give rest me at night for the coming day.
Psalm 3 is a beautiful picture of peace in the middle of a predicament. The first two verses describe this predicament. Verses 5 & 6 pictures the writer as sleeping peacefully. So, what sits in the middle of predicament and peace? The truths of verses 3 & 4 are key.
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.
Lord…you…the one…the Lord…he…his
Once again, I am faced with a decision: when difficult, unpleasant times come, where will my focus be? What will grab my attention? The truth that ultimate victory comes from the Lord alone is to be my focus through these times.
Lord, you alone are my rescuer and Victor. May I be disciplined to look to you when the unexpected comes.
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
God wants me to live this way…that grabs my attention. Simple, straightforward instruction.
Be cheerful no matter what – how? By praying all the time. Regardless of the situation in front of me, I can pray, “Come Lord Jesus into this.”
Pray all the time – how? By thanking God. I can be filled with gratitude because he remains the Constant One. I can trust him. I can relinquish what is in my heart and hands into his care. He is more than enough for this day. Keeping these truths in mind, I can be continually thankful.
So, my life is not driven by circumstances but by my responses to them. That’s the bottom line regarding how my Lord wants me to live. Life happens to me like everyone else. How I process life is the issue.
Lord, it’s all yours. Every part of this day I give to you to direct and guide and provide. Thank you for being consistent and steady and faithful.
Who out there fears GOD, actually listens to the voice of his servant? For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going, anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in GOD. Lean on your God! Isaiah 50:10-11
God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand”. The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision Never try to help God fulfill His word. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. – Oswald Chambers
Two voices – one truth. God has often revealed his will to me in stages. Little glimpses. Most of his will-revealing for me requires waiting in the shadows. And, though never easy, it is easiest when I remember I am waiting for him not for a certain thing to happen. My Lord’s timing is perfect – remember! Therefore, there is no fear of losing out as I wait in the shadows. His delay is his process of preserving me for his best and protecting me from that which is less than his best.
Lord, help me wait patiently and remember that you are perfect in all you do. What you do is rightly done.
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13
Regardless how earnestly a child might ask for something, if it will harm or weaken him, a wise parent will not give what is requested. This parental love is certainly found in the prayer relationship between me and my Father. I often ask amiss, not knowing. But my Father knows what will keep me safe and nourish my soul. So, prayer becomes an entrusting of my need to the only one who will be trustworthy with it. He knows what will keep me safe and cared for.
Father, thank you for your answers to my prayers. Thank you for being so trustworthy with my life and needs.
“Even then God had designs on me…” Galatians 1:13-16
I wish I could say that I have always loved God’s designs for my life. In fact, there have been times I thought I had a much better plan. Even now, I look back and wonder if my plan had been better. What pride!
Many times, my Lord has spoken to my heart with, “Is it all right if I take care of this for you?” You are more than enough also impacts my submitting to his desires and plans. In fact, when I question him, I question whether or not he is more than enough for me. This has to stop.
God’s desires for me express His nature and what is suited to my nature. Only he knows how to blend the two.
Lord, reorder my life through simplicity. I surrender to you and acknowledge you are more than enough for today and every day to come.
“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7
God’s work in my life has brought me to where I am today. Even through my mistakes and rebellions, his grace has brought me here. And, with unlimited time he gives me unending grace and kindness. Today, here, then and there…forever. What glory that is!
The past and the present are surrounded by his grace and kindness. The next bend in the road leads me to more of his grace and kindness. So, no uncertainty or need to fear. He is meeting me at the next stop.
Lord, mostly, what you do is love me – through it all. This captures my heart in a way I cannot express. My story is your story of grace and kindness. So, I entrust into your grace and kindness all that this day brings to me. I give you my future and submit to you my past. Thank you Lord.