“Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”
Psalms 56:1-4 NKJV
My prayer list is a barometer for what is happening in the lives of people, and a reflection of what is happening in the world. It is a reminder that I am part of a greater scheme, with as many moving parts as there are people. As of this writing, the delta variant of that horror I will not name, is adding many names to my prayer time, as sickness is once again rocking the world. In reality, I am not sure it ever stopped.
The pressures of these present times are also having an impact, as relationships are strained and many individuals are feeling a creeping hopelessness, depression, and uncertainty.
In the past, I was one of those people who would linger in bed, safe under the covers, trying to fight off the stresses of the day as long as I could. Eventually I would come from under my blankets, and face the harsh realities, being filled with a dread.
As a follower of Christ, Jesus has taught me that He is ever faithful, that He is with me in the darkest moments. It is not merely a well worn cliche, but a solid, tangible reality, as I have had many things happen that have served to put the truth of God’s faithfulness to the test. I get up early now, knowing that God is already in the future, waiting for me to catch up, and I need not fear.
Believers, He will never leave you or forsake you.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.””
Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
The journey in this present life can be long, and the enemies multiplying. As I look at media, I can see that we are a world in opposition, as many rail against many, and peace is fleeting. More of us are facing oppositions in our own bodies, as diseases appear, and cancers diagnosed. Some are battling mental illness or addiction. Even in those internal battles, God is there.
“You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Psalms 56:8-11 NKJV
“My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”
Psalms 139:15-17 NKJV
In my own cancer, I took comfort in knowing that the God of the Universe was aware of every fallen hair from my head, loosed by chemotherapy, of the prolonged sore throat from the radiation, of every tear shed from weary eyes, as I lay sick and nauseous. He was there when the news was bad, He was there when it was good. Through it all I experienced peace.
You see, that is the greatest thing. The peace. When all seems to be falling apart, and one should be falling apart with it, peace prevails. Fear is banished.
Brothers and sisters, cast all of your cares upon Him, and know that He truly cares, that He is in the battle with you. Shout His praises before the congregation, for He is faithful!
God is using the struggle of these present times as a megaphone, to spread the Gospel. Let us be about the Father’s business. Go tell the nurse, go tell the doctors, go tell all that you encounter of Jesus, who I went to the cross, of the great salvation that has taken away sin and death. Tell of the perfect love that casts out fear.
There is an urgency brought on in crisis. What is truly important to you, is made the center of your focus. Let that truly important thing be the Lord. I think of David late in his life, aging and reflecting on a long life filled with adventure, trials, persecution, and now the reality of death awaiting. In that time of light flailing at dusk, he looked upon the One who was with him.
The old shepherd boy, reflected on his Shepherd.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”
Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV
Be fearless my brothers and sisters. GOD IS WITH US!