Psalm 56

I searched the internet today for verses about God’s trustworthiness (it was an actual auto-fill so other people must look for this sort of thing, too). One of the things I saw was an article entitled “Is God Trustworthy?” It was put out by the Billy Graham organization in 2009, and since I recognized his name, I decided to click on it and see what it said.

While the meat of the article didn’t seem to apply (experiencing cosmic disillusionment or being afraid that if I trust God something bad will happen to me), there was a section about studying some Psalms. I’ve never done a proper study of the Psalms. I should commit to reading one a day because I am David; my emotions run high to low in a single moment, from the depths of despair to the heights to heaven (though lately in all honesty I tend to wallow in the depths).

So, out of the four Psalms it suggested reading, it was Psalm 56 that spoke to me the most. (Though one thing I found interesting was how David always knew that his circumstances and his iniquity went hand in hand in keeping him from fellowship with God, as seen in Psalm 31 and 40).

Here is a little of what spoke to me this morning:

3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

A friend of mine just put it this way recently. Whenever she’s afraid of something, she plays the “What If” game. “This is happening right now, so what if this happens next (or what if this is the cause)?” She keeps adding what ifs, and eventually it leads to death: her death, or her husband’s, or her child’s, etc. Because that’s the ultimate what if where everything leads. But here’s where the fear stops. Because she’s come to realize that death, even her own, cannot kill her.

Her trust is in God and she is not afraid of what flesh can do to her (even her own). I said to my husband just yesterday that it’s not death that I’m afraid of, it’s the process. But I’m realizing that fear only has a hold because I’m focusing on the process instead of on the end result, which, ironically, is LIFE. Keeping my eyes focused on God instead of on my circumstances is a huge battle for me. And I get overwhelmed, but I have to remember that even in that battle God will fight with me and through me and give me victory if only I will lean on Him through it.

8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?… 9 This I know, that God is for me.

This verse is beautiful to me because when I’m not sleeping, when I’m afraid, when I’m in tears over a circumstance, it is beautiful to me that I am not alone. That God is not ignoring me, or frustrated with me. My husband gets tired and goes to sleep, or gets bored with the same ole stuff that I’m dealing with. But God knows what I’m struggling with and He stays with me through it, from the depth to the heighth.

10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Just a beautiful way to end a Psalm to a beautiful God. In God I trust, for you have delivered my soul from death and my feet from falling, that I may walk before You in the light of life. Thank you, Father. Empower me today to trust You for life, regardless of every circumstance, even my own death. Keep my eyes on You, and not on circumstances. In You I look for deliverance and victory, in order that I may glorify You.

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Trusting God

Proverbs 3

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

11 My son, do not despise the Lord‘s discipline
    or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
    as a father the son in whom he delights.

I am struggling right now. I feel like Jacob wrestling with God, and losing. Which is how it always turns out, I suppose.

I have always had trust issues. I’m sure it goes back to my childhood, though I can’t pinpoint what about it caused me to doubt every motive and question every word spoken. If you can’t prove it, I don’t believe it. It suits me well in many areas, for I am not easily taken in by fakeness.

But when it comes to God, that inability to trust is not serving me well. I have lost the intimacy I have felt with Him, and I am sure it is in no small part due to the fact that I have these trust issues. Accidents, diseases, deaths, and dysfunctions in my immediate family have just brought me down, step by step, to this place of doubt and lost intimacy. As I’ve been made aware of this trust problem, I’ve been worried about how to regain it. How to talk myself back into fully trusting God. But as James Macdonald says in his devotional on Proverbs 3, I don’t have to have trust in my trust, I just have to trust in the Lord. Instead of focusing on my lack of trust, or my worries and anxieties and doubts, I just need to focus on Who He Is. I will trust Him because He is God.

And I need to fight Satan, because I know ultimately he is the puppet master behind so much of what is going on behind the scenes. Not everything. I know my own sin and hardness of heart play a huge role. And I am at the place of confession, crying out to God to forgive me for those areas. But I am still often blind to Satan’s tactics. I am not fooled by fakeness, but I am fooled by evil, because it often seems to be more real or more true than the truth.

I love how verse 1 says let your heart keep my commandments, because that is my issue exactly. My head can believe one thing but my heart refuses to trust it. Not that everything is ruled by our hearts (because Scripture pretty much tells us that our hearts are not to be trusted), but that if we are obeying with our heads only, we are not loving subjects, we are more like soldiers, and maybe even like soldiers ready at any time to mutiny and take over. James Macdonald has also said, “If your trust in God is limited to your understanding of His ways, you will always have a limited trust.” When we love our captain, we are much more ready to believe that His decisions are right, even when we don’t understand them.

Verse 2… peace! Yes, that’s exactly what I’m missing. In this season when I’m not in loving obedience to God, I’m missing out on peace. There are times when I have peace in a certain stressful situation (praise God for that), but the overarching theme of my life right now is definitely not peace.

Such a familiar bit of Scripture – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. When my heart doubts that my circumstances are for my good (whether they are straight from God’s will or whether they are the discipline for my own sin or lack of faith that verses 11 and 12 speak of), I need to trust anyway. Because I don’t have to understand. And I don’t have to see. I just have to meditate on the fact that the Lord is good (1 Chronicles 16:34) and He is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9) and my circumstances and trials will turn out for good (James 1:2-4).

I never know how to end these things. Because I don’t know how to “do” what I want to “do.” I only know that today I’m going to say these verses whenever I struggle. Tomorrow will need its own grace and mercy. But if I’m not wrong, God tells me He will provide it anew each day. I’m going to trust Him for that.