February 27, 2016

Psalm 94:17-19 Unless the Lord had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
your love, O Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

The NIV expresses this as a declaration of past blessing, while the Japanese expresses it as a prayer that this is how things would be, which makes me wonder about the tenses in the Hebrew. This Psalm is unattributed, so with no idea who wrote it, we have even less idea of the circumstances that prompted it. In a sense that makes it all the more universal, because it could apply to any believer. We all have times when we “come to the end of our rope,” when we realize that we can’t make it on our own. That actually is a huge blessing, because it teaches us to rely on God. As Andrae Crouch sang so memorably, “If I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that He could solve them.” (Through it All) The Psalmist here is honest in saying that sometimes anxiety does grow within us, however much faith we might claim. When in such times we choose to release that anxiety to God as an active choice of our will, He does give us a joy that can be had no other way. It is as Jesus said: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The more firmly we know that Jesus is our foundation, our Rock, our Savior, the less we are shaken by events and circumstances around us, and that is blessing indeed.

We have certainly been going through a “shake-down cruise” in recent months, and we aren’t through yet. However, the awareness is there that God is going to use everything that has happened, as well as everything that is going to happen, for our blessing and His glory. (Romans 8:28) Even that awareness doesn’t always make things easy, but the harder the trial, the greater the growth that comes from it. We still need to be consistent in choosing to look to Christ, to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, however violent the immediate storm. I am reminded of how Jesus was sound asleep in the back of the boat on Lake Galilee when the storm was bad enough that His disciples though they would be swamped and sink. (Mark 4:35-41) The better we are grounded in Him, the better we can even sleep through the storm!

Father, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for all You have brought us through, and that You will bring us all the way through to the other side. Help us receive all that You want to pour into us in and through all of this, so that we may then in turn be vessels to let it flow through us to others, (2 Corinthians 1:4) for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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