Welcome to the Christian life! It’s a stress-free picnic every day with continual success, lots of friends, and the knowledge that your children will always be well-behaved in public. No problems, no questions, no doubts.
Is that what you believe? If so, I have some incredibly good news for you that should help you to reconcile your real life with what you read in the Bible: You’re wrong.
Reality comes into sharp focus for the believer in Psalm 91:
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor of the destruction that wastes at noon.” (Psalm 91:5, 6)
Terror, arrows, pestilence, and destruction fall upon the just and the unjust. We are not immune from the tragedy or the misfortune that is part of life on a fallen planet. Our kids get sick, our cars give up the ghost, and sometimes our “terror of the night” is a shrinking bank balance and a growing pile of bills. Even so, there is an implied promise here–not that we will be exempt from difficulties, but, rather, that we will not be ruled by fear.
We can read these promises, then, as an assurance of preservation from the evil that lies in every trial and trouble. Eugene Peterson offers this metaphor:
All the water in the oceans cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside. Nor can all the trouble in the world harm us unless it gets within us… None of the things that happen to you, none of the troubles you encounter, have any power to get between you and God, dilute his grace in you, divert his will from you.”
Some Seasons Require Extra Grace
When the only thing that’s certain is that things will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future, we need strong doses of truth to counteract fear. We need to be reminded of where we are standing as believers in Jesus Christ. Those fearless folks in Psalm 91 are standing in “the Shadow of the Almighty,” a metaphor for God’s care and protection.
This is not clearance to practice a Pollyanna-ish form of denial, but instead, it’s an acknowledgement that even when life takes a turn toward terror, we are equipped to persevere, to function in faith rather than in fear–not because of our own courage, but because we remember where we are standing:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:1, 2)
Friends at Do Not Depart have been spending the month of April memorizing truth from Psalm 91. It’s not too late for you to take advantage of the great resources offered free on line that will help you to store up truth for the seasons when we are in need of extra grace. Click here for the memory challenge and a link to the free resources.
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