Psalm 27 (NKJV)
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.
Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
It is easiest to rely on God when the illusion of control we have over our lives is broken, and when things we love fall apart: a diagnosis, a broken relationship, a natural disaster, a betrayal. The sense of needing God is urgent in these times – we must rely on God to get through them. When darkness envelops us, how much more desperately we look for God as our source of light.
Much of our lives, however, are not spent in this heightened state. We go to the grocery store, we joke with coworkers, and we sit in traffic – and we do the same thing day after day. We have personal and political anxieties. We may deal with ongoing physical pain, or loneliness (even within our family), or a sense of unfulfilled purpose. Life is filled with these quieter struggles, and it can be much more difficult to seek God when we think we can handle them on our own.
The truth is that we live just as much by His grace in the day to day as we do in the midst of loss and heartbreak. As Christians, we are offered freedom in the knowledge that “though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.” (Pss 27:3, NKJV). Take a deep breath and “…be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.” (Pss. 27:14, NKJV). Our difficulties may not be taken away, but we can live alongside God each day, be centered on solid ground, and find peace.
Lord, I need you to find freedom from everyday pain. Without you, I am prone to surrendering to my anxieties and worries. Please, grant me Your deep peace. Fortify me for all the big and small things to come. Never let me forget that no matter what happens, You are the same. Teach me to rely on you in all things and live out the freedom I am promised. Amen.