Who’s been there for you?

// Meditation on Psalm 3 //

1 Lord, how my foes increase!
There are many who attack me.
2 Many say about me,
“There is no help for him in God.”
3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
4 I cry aloud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not be afraid of thousands of people
who have taken their stand against me on every side.
7 Rise up, Lord!
Save me, my God!
You strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people.

 

When I got married I never thought I could love anyone as much as I loved her. She is amazing.

Megan and I began dating during  the hardest time of my life. I would not have blamed her if she had decided to just up and move on from the relationship. But, she didn’t. At times I was overcome with such anxiety that she would break up with me. That my struggle with suffering and my sin would be too much for her. Perhaps at times it was. But she was tenaciously loyal.

And, just to brag on her for a second. She stayed on without stepping in to solve my problems or to be my only emotional anchor. She was faithful and she pointed me to God, time after time. She knew she couldn’t my savior, that she couldn’t be my healer. And, in doing so she pointed me to the One who was my true savior and healer.

I am thankful for the Lord that He used people to get me through that time. Family, friends, and my church. They were so consistent to me during that year and a half.

I count myself the luckiest man in the world. Who has had people as consistent as mine? I don’t think I could have gotten through it without them holding on for the long haul.

But

It compared nothing to His consistency.

 

His stubborn consistency

I remember the exact moment it hit me. I was crying. I was trying to drive my car through tears as I drove from the counseling office in Nashville to my house. In those types of moments I tried to remind myself of truth. Because lies were eating me from the inside out.

For some reason I began to take comfort in the fact that Megan was still with me and I still had friends who cared. It’s not so bad, I thought. For a year! Megan has been with me a year! And my friends have been with me for like 4 years. That’s pretty long! I’m good. I can hang on.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… And you’ll have to excuse me for the cheesy-ness but I realized the obviousness of the truth: God had been with me for longer! He had been with me for 25 years. I remembered that He’d known me before the foundation of the world. Not because I deserved it. He’s the one who eternally matters, and somehow He was mindful of me. For 24 years?! It floored me.

If I was going to take comfort in the fact that I had people who had my back for the long haul. Then He was clearly the winner for the longest time.

How could He be so stubbornly consistent to such weak, sinful people like me?

I thought of this as I read this Psalm:

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5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again because the Lord sustains me.

Not even my parents have been with me for the whole of my life. He has. He sustains me. He’s been there for me, in every way. Every single day of every single year of my short life. For someone who didn’t even believe in Him his whole life and who sins against him regularly. Wow… The luckiest man in the world indeed.

 

I didn’t stop crying

What I said before is true. 100% true. And it paved the way for God to bring me out of that pit. He rescued me from such deep suffering. But the truth of the matter is that this Psalm does not promise that. It does not promise an idyllic rescue from all pain or that suffering will end. I still carry the scars of the past. I still cried a lot after that moment.

Look at the Psalm. It does not promise that our enemies will evaporate. It promises that God will be with us in the midst of raging warfare. It actually promises that enemies will crop up always on this earth. (3:1-3). Why would we need a “shield” (v.3) if we didn’t need to be protected from attack?

I still trust the old saying: “Life is hard, but God is good”.

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The final purpose of this Psalm

This Psalm culminates in the final verse:

8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people.

It gives us three beautiful promises.

  1. The enemies won’t be around forever, but they will be here on earth. As long as there is sin in our hearts, there will be evil. He promises to save us from it. That is rock-hard hope we can cling to.
  2. It all comes back to God. That is the beauty of this Psalm. It’s not about us. It’s not about me getting relief from my pain. It’s about God and His unbelievable grace towards His people who He blesses by giving them a Savior, namely Himself.
  3. Justice. Look at verse 7. Pretty graphic, huh? God hates evil. And He hates the evil that happens to us. He will one day destroy it all.

//

Father, wow. Thank you for being the leader, the savior, the God our souls long for. You were there for me for my deepest sufferings and highest joys. You forgave me, the sinner who deserved the punishment I see in this Psalm. Instead, you took on that punishment on yourself. And you promise to watch over me and be a shield around me. Give us strength to trust you, and to endure through the trials we will surely have to endure in the future. We praise you. Amen

//

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