Note: Today’s devotional is cross-posted with today’s Running Toward the Goal.
I like to call the Bible a book of experience. This title comes from my own experience. Over the years I have learned that when I am in difficulty in my own experience with God or when I wonder what God is doing, that I can find answers in the past experience of people with God recorded in the Bible. Itâ€™s not just historyâ€”itâ€™s a living reality of how God works with people today.
If you are alone and afraid, think of Jacob running from the anger of Esau, and how God gave him a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder. If you feel like arguing with God, you might consider the experience of Moses when he was called to the ministry. If you are going through trials and tribulations, you might consider Paul and everything he did in spite of the attacks of the enemy. And there are many, many more.
But today I want to call your attention to two testimonies of faith contained in the Psalm, just a few chapters apart. We donâ€™t know the precise occasion that produced these testimonies, but I think most of us can think of times in our lives that fit them.
First, from Psalm 27:
1You, LORD, are the light that keeps me safe.
I am not afraid of anyone.
You protect me, and I have no fears.
2Brutal people may attack and try to kill me,
but they will stumble.
Fierce enemies may attack, but they will fall.
3Armies may surround me, but I won’t be afraid;
war may break out, but I will trust you.
Psalm 27:1-3 (CEV)
This is an expression of complete trust and confidence. We need to notice that the psalmist doesnâ€™t tell us that nobody will attack him that no armies will surround him, or that war wonâ€™t break out. Rather, he says it doesnâ€™t matter if all these things happen. Even if heâ€™s surrounded, he will trust in God.
I like to think of this as the ideal expression of faith. But is there an expression that works for those of us who are still trying for that first mustard seed worth of faith?
Listen to Psalm 30, starting with verse 6:
6I was carefree and thought, “I’ll never be shaken!”
7You, LORD, were my friend,
and you made me strong as a mighty mountain.
But when you hid your face, I was crushed.
Letâ€™s pause there a moment. Doesnâ€™t that sound like many of us? When trials and tribulation comes, we are crushed. We wonder why God has let all these things happen to us. We imagine that we are abandoned, alone, unprotected. We think weâ€™re about to be destroyed.
Is God still there? Is this the end?
Letâ€™s continue with verse 8:
8I prayed to you, LORD, and in my prayer I said,
9“What good will it do you if I am in the grave?
Once I have turned to dust,
how can I praise you or tell how loyal you are?
10Have pity, LORD! Help!”
11You have turned my sorrow into joyful dancing.
No longer am I sad and wearing sackcloth.
12I thank you from my heart, and I will never stop
singing your praises, my LORD and my God.
Psalm 30:6-12 (CEV)
I see two clear lessons here. First, no matter how far God seems we still have the privilege of prayer and communion with God. We can still take our troubles to him. Even when we fail of the faith-filled ideal, when we donâ€™t stand without trembling and say, â€œI have nothing to fearâ€ God is still ready to listen.
He can and will turn our sorrow into joy.
Letâ€™s praise him!!