Monday, March 3, 2008

My Daily Summit with the Living God: my Father watches over me

Today in my daily devotions I came upon Psalm 71. I asked God to show me how this Psalm applies to me as I continue in my upward journey toward the summit of God's holy mountain.

Here's what I came up with.

Psalm 71:5, 6, 17, 20
5 O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
6 Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising you!

17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.

20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.

David wrote this Psalm later in his life (vv. 9, 18). In this prayer David is looking back on his life and how the Lord has always been there; from the womb to the gray hair on his head, and will continue to be there all the way to the grave and beyond. David acknowledges that, although God allows suffering, He is not the one who causes suffering. Even in the midst of such hardships and afflictions God is still with him, and these experiences in his life are merely temporary.

As I look back on my own life I realize that every part of my past was designed by God to bring me to where I am today. Even the wrong and seemingly bad choices I have made have still turned out for my good.

The word of God says,
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28).

That means, like David, God continues to guide me, watch over me, defend and protect me; from the womb to the grave and into eternity. He will rescue me from the hand of my enemy and He will set me upon His rock of safety. Even though I may suffer hardship and affliction He is still with me. These light afflictions are only temporary and designed by God to teach me about myself and to instill hope, patience and confidence in His saving power. I will, one day, rise above this earthly existence, to a place where there will be no more sickness or sorrow, no more suffering, no more affliction, just eternity and abundant blessings in the presence of Almighty God. He will restore me to life again and lift me up above it all.

The alternative, of course, is to miss out on God's plan for my life and to experience the full weight of the world on my shoulders as the trials and afflictions of life come my way; and they do, believe me! As these times of heaviness and anxiety come my way it is reassuring for me to know that the same God who watched over me in the womb is the same God who guided me through boyhood into adulthood, and the same God who watches over me now and will still know me and guide me as I depart from this earthly life into His eternal kingdom.

Psalm 139:7-16

7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

How about you?