Read His Words Before Ours!
The gavel fell and the small crowd applauded. I forced myself to smile calmly as I shook the hands of the excited buyers. Strangers now owned my family home.
On the inside I was screaming, “God, where are You? How could You let this happen? Why have You abandoned us? God, You could have stopped this, and now we have lost everything, even our home.”
I was heartbroken, defeated. My prayers unanswered.
The words of Psalm 71:1–3 resonated in my heart. “Lord, I seek refuge in you. Listen closely to me. Give the command to save me!” I cried out, not in faith, but in anguish and fear.
A few short weeks later, sitting in the living room of our newly rented home, a peace I couldn’t understand washed over my soul. The weight of debt was lifted, the pressure of repayment dates had disappeared, the remainder of money from the record sale of our home was safely invested and our family could breathe once again.
God didn’t give me what I wanted. He gave me what I needed.
God is faithful. He is always there, working in and through circumstances as they unfold. If only I had the faith to trust Him, fix my eyes steadfastly on Him, and not allow the crashing waves of emotion to knock me off balance so readily. God has never let me down. And I know He will not let me down now.
Likewise, the psalmist remembered the faithfulness and goodness of God. (Psalm 71:5–8) He is our hope, our confidence, and our strong refuge. God was present before the beginning, guiding and protecting us through every season of life. He is faithful, and worthy of our praise.
I find this encouraging and challenging. It feels like we have a responsibility to be worried and anxious. The world is out of control; how can we be calm? There are so many people hurting and grieving. Can we really trust God?
The writer of Psalm 71 continues with confident faith. We can overcome fear and anxiety when we keep our focus on God. Verses 14-16 show us how to respond.
“But I will hope continually [. . .]” (Psalm 71:14a)
We can always hope in God. No situation is beyond His redemption.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found hope in a furnace.
Daniel found hope in a lion’s den.
Sarah found hope after 90 years of infertility.
Peter found hope locked up in prison.
There are a hundred more examples in Scripture, and a hundred more in my own life. When God is part of our story, there is always hope.
“[. . .] and [I] will praise you more and more.” (Psalm 71:14b)
When we praise God, we magnify Him, making Him an increasingly bigger part of our picture. When God is bigger, our circumstances shrink into relative insignificance. Our praise builds our faith, reminds our hearts of the power of God, and, when we praise God with fellow believers, we strengthen each other’s wavering faith.
Hebrews 10:19-25 reminds us not to neglect spending time together with other believers, but to prioritize encouraging one another. We need a community of faith, to provide accountability and encouragement.
“My mouth will tell about your righteousness
and your salvation all day long,
though I cannot sum them up.
I come because of the mighty acts of the LORD God;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.” (Psalm 71:15-16)
When we have good news, we share it. When Murray asked me to marry him, we spent the whole afternoon driving around to our friends, flashing my diamond ring and celebrating the good news.
Now, with social media, it’s easier than ever to share good news. But so often, we share our annoyance, rather than our praise. It is easier to whine about the bad service we received at a local store or our outrage at an opposing point of view, than it is to share the eternal hope we have in Jesus our Savior.
I’ve been to many funerals, but some leave a lasting impact. One such service honored a missionary who lost his battle with cancer in his 50s. As a senior leader in a global mission organization, this man faced significant struggle for the sake of the gospel. The hardships he and his family faced were well known, but at his funeral, pages from his private journal were read aloud. During the most harrowing of circumstances, his journal was not full of worry and fear, but praise and faith.
He wrote of the faithfulness of God. He wrote of his peace, knowing God was in control. (Philippians 4:6-9) He wrote of how God was working through the circumstances to further His kingdom.
I found this profoundly challenging. Often, the pages of my journal are full of worry and concern. As I grow older, and the reach of my influence widens, I am challenged to be a woman of faith greater than fear, a woman who trusts in a powerful and loving God, and a woman who praises my Savior through every storm.
I want to join the psalmist and declare, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You because You have redeemed me.” (Psalm 71:23) I don’t really want the pages of my journal to be read at my funeral, but if they are, I want them to declare words of faith.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!