“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life” Psalm 138:7a
Trouble comes in so many different forms. I have found myself in troubled places all along my life because life is life and trouble is a part of this life.
Sometimes I put myself in the path of trouble in a moment of rebellion. Sometimes I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and trouble found me. Sometimes, well, sometimes life happened and there I was, troubled over what was going on around me. I may or may not have been powerless to change my circumstances, but they were troubling all the same.
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life”
I did not research all that went into Psalm 138 and the circumstances that preceded David writing it or what he was recalling as he penned these words. But I can relate in my own way. Even though there are times God actually preserves my life, there are also times He preserves my sanity by the words of a friend, an unexpected gift, a solution where none seemed to be found. All of these things contribute to the preservation of my life.
As I dig deep and explore who I am and how I am made, I am always amazed how God intricately weaves all of my past and uses it to impact who I am today. He continues to shape and mold me as only a loving Creator can. He will not abandon the work of His hands!
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
Have you ever had a season of disobedience? Sometimes those “seasons” go on for years! Pure selfishness typically characterizes the attitudes and actions during this time. Oh, and the sowing of seeds of future challenges! It’s like you are taking musk thistle seeds and burying them all around you to ensure you have some life long challenges with deep and difficult roots. Oh the crazy things we do!
I am in the middle of Beth Moore’s Bible Study on David. Her studies are very in-depth and thought provoking and I encourage you to explore one if you ever get the chance.
Remember David from Scripture? The shepherd boy, king, adulterer, and author of many Psalms? If you get a chance to survey his life in a study, you should definitely do it. He had an incredibly close relationship with God and then wandered far away. And then he recognized his sin. Fascinating and familiar, all at the same time! Here are a few powerful quotes from the Beth Moore study David:Seeking A Heart Like His (workbook pages 150-159) I have been pondering:
* Most of us have had seasons of unrepentance when we outwardly attempted to go on with life as if we had not sinned against God.
* In the gap between wanting and getting we must flex the muscle of self control to protect ourselves.
* A heart out of God’s hands never fails to fall into danger.
* “All rebellion begins in isolation.”
* Little should frighten us more than realizing the Holy Spirit’s conviction has grown so faint we hardly sense it.
* Intense selfishness accompanies a faraway heart.
* Sometimes the further we wander outside God’s will, the more we judge others and the less we show mercy.
If you sense you are in a season of disobedience, repent and talk to God. If you remember a season of disobedience in your own life, consider what you learned immediately following that time. What steps have you taken to insure that season doesn’t darken your doorstep again?
Do you have an Achilles’ Heel? (Side note: I broke down and used Wikipedia for this definition because it was as accurate as I knew it to be.)
“An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, metaphorical references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.”
I have been thinking about times when I have been down a sinful path. Was I being rebellious? Was I scoffing in God’s face? Or was I hurting and going to the wrong place for comfort and restoration? Sometimes being vulnerable leads to rebellion. Being rebellious opens one up to being vulnerable. They are very closely related though not the same.
Do you find yourself in circumstances that trigger an ungodly reaction from you? Have you noticed vulnerable people in your life?
The single mom who is exhausted and starts dating a guy who isn’t healthy for her–
A fatherless daughter who dresses immodestly and throws herself into the arms of older, dangerous men–
A stressed out teen who tries to escape the ugliness of this world through drugs and alcohol?
Do others come to mind for you? Do you cross your own mind?
Those people who come to mind as being vulnerable–Ask God to hedge them in and protect them. Intercede for them. Connect with them if that is possible. Think of the times in your life when you were vulnerable and thank God for His love and provision–it was there, even if you didn’t see it or take advantage of it. If you are feeling vulnerable, ask God to protect your heart and stop your feet from going where you should not go or doing what you should not do. Pray that God will grant you a willing heart to do His will. Is there someone who can be your accountability partner? Step out and ask for assistance.
Even if you traveled a difficult path, He can use that experience of yours to minister to others. Maybe God would like you to offer assistance to someone struggling in an area of sin you can relate to.
We have had a bit of a taste of beautiful weather in southern Indiana the last couple of days and it is a welcome reprieve to our winter, in my opinion. There are some seasons that last a bit too long for me. Maybe it is the cold, maybe it is the requirement of bundling up, maybe it is the shorter days or lack of sunshine, maybe I am just getting old but after about eight weeks of winter, I am done.
I have noticed my faith seems to have seasons, as well. Does yours? Sometimes it is obvious the Holy Spirit is growing in me a deeper understanding and trust of God. Other times I feel as though I am resting in His grace and basking in His love. And still other times are situations of harvest.
And then those times when it appears not much is happening.
It could be I am distracted, depressed, disturbed, or disconnected from God and the body of believers. It could be that I am smack in the middle of a season of rebelliousness and unconfessed sin.
Sin always drives a wedge between us and God. Sin causes growth to stop and eventually we find we are a branch that dries up, a faith that almost withers away.
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1: 1-3
Lord, help me to be connected to you. When my faith seems to be withering, keep me accountable as well as encouraged to move forward by putting my trust in You!
Have you ever breezed through a stop sign before? I have, unintentionally. I have even considered it intentionally late at night when I am tired, want to get home, and no one else is at the intersection.
Have there been times when you know there are places or relationships God would not want you to enter and you did so, anyway? Sometimes you hear the “I knew I shouldn’t have done that” in your mind.
Next time you see some signs as you are traveling down the road in your vehicle, think about how those very same signs can be useful as signs for faith–construction zone, danger zone, bridge out, DO NOT ENTER.
Are there areas in your life where you are ignoring some signs you ought to be paying attention to?
I think God has always been pretty generous giving me clues and indications about certain situations I should steer clear of. Sometimes, though, I can be rebellious and forge my way ahead anyway. Typically there are some not-so-pleasant consequences but once in a while I come away unscathed. It’s risky business.
Maybe I should heed the signs that He has placed for my protection and thank Him for loving me and forgiving me even when I deliberately ignore them.
Lord, teach me to seek Your wisdom and counsel and follow it as well!