1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
Oh Lord, you are faithful to us. You love us and are more powerful than anything in this world.
2When the wicked advance against me to devour[a] me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
Oh that I would be able to stare down the giants that come upon me, as David did when he fought Goliath. He called upon Your name, trusting that you would deliver him the same way you did when he fought off the lion and bear while he was tending his sheep. He knew You alone are trustworthy.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.
Sometimes those foes are me! I can be my own false witness, believing lies about who I really am. I am who You say I am—not the forces of this world. But when I keep my eyes focused on Your face, I can walk through the troubles of this life. You alone will never reject me or forsake me; You have promised this through Your Word!
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
I am one of those people who will read the end of the story before I finish a book. I can’t help myself; I need to know how everything is going to work out. Does the boy get the girl? Do they make it to their destination? Do the good guys win? Once I know the answers to whatever the challenge is, I can go back and finish the book. But life is not lived that way. We don’t know how a trial we are being asked to walk through will turn out. We can’t turn to the end of the chapter to see what happens. We have to walk through it one day at a time.
After working at the same company for 23 years, the business was closed and I was unemployed. I was not worried . . . at first. I had an excellent severance package and I was sure I would find a job well before that ran out. But I didn’t. One month, turned to six months, turned to nine months, turned into a year. Nothing. Oh, I went on interviews but was never offered the job. Somewhere during that period of time, God very clearly gave me Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord.” That verse became my mantra. I wish I could tell you that I trusted God and did not spend one day worrying about anything. But the truth is, I felt like Jacob wrestling with God—“when, Lord, when am I going to get a job; how am I going to pay my bills, am I going to lose my house, what is going to happen to me?” Every time I thought I couldn’t go on, that there was no strength left in me, that verse would be my anchor to keep me from going adrift. I would hear it in a sermon, on the radio, or it would be in a devotional. My friend hand-sewed a bookmark for me to keep it in my bible so it would be a constant reminder to me that God was with me every step of the way.
For me, that was a season of pruning. Very lovingly, God showed me He alone is sovereign. I learned to depend on Him in a way I never would have otherwise. I learned that until HE says it is time for something to happen, nothing happens! I learned I can be miserable as I wait on Him, or I can look to Him for the lessons He is teaching me. Once you reach that place of surrender, THEN you find freedom!
Looking back now, I can see that time as a gift. Besides what He was teaching me, God had work for me to do during that year and a “job” would have gotten in the way. I was able to work in a food pantry for six months. The women that worked there filled me with love, fun, and laughter. My mother was put into hospice care and I had extra time to spend with her, be with her as she died, and then take care of all the legal matters after she passed away. I was able to visit the bedside of a dying friend and speak to her of heaven, where I knew she was going, one hour before she went to be with the Lord. I was able to speak at her memorial service of the investment I knew she had made into the lives of others. I had a beloved adopted aunt that had cancer. I cooked food for her and had visits with her. I was with her as she took her final breath. God blessed me so much by giving me time!
While I had plenty of angst over how this story was going to turn out, I think if I could have read ahead I would have been pleased over the outcome of the story. I did finally find a job (thank you Jesus) but having had that closeness with God, even if it had turned out differently, I pray that my response would be the same as that of David: “4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
Oh Heavenly Father! Let us see Your blessings in our life. I think our mind has a preconceived notion of what a blessing should look like—prayers answered OUR way, a “thing” we receive—but blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Let us have eyes to see that sometimes waiting is a blessing, unanswered prayers are a blessing, walking with you through a trial is a blessing. These are the times we can choose to know you more deeply, more intimately. THAT is our greatest blessing. Praising You in song and worship, all our days. “I will sing and make music to the Lord.” In Jesus precious name, Amen.