11–17 August 2019.
Each day brings with it a new set of challenges. There are new obstacles to deal with at work, difficult problems to face at school, and even constant challenges at home. With all of these difficulties, it can feel hard to cope on our own. Often we reach out to others for help, asking colleagues and friends and family to support us, but too often others let us down. They are too busy with their own problems, they forget, or they just aren’t interested or able to help.
While other people may let us down, Psalm 121 encourages us to remember that God is always here for us. God is dependable; we surely can trust in him and his protection each day.
Psalm 121 is a wonderful hymn praising God’s care. But this attitude of praise does lead the writer to use some exaggerations. The writer tells us that under God’s care we won’t stumble in life (v. 3), that God protects us from all harm during the day and night (v. 6), and that God will protect us from all harm all through our lives (v. 7). Those are beautiful thoughts and very poetic expressions of trust in God’s protection, but in reality we know that life is not that easy. Even though God loves us, we know that we will still face troubles in life. But that doesn’t mean that God has stopped caring for us.
Instead we see God’s powerful love and protection in this: that when we do stumble and fall, when we do run into troubles, God is here for us. The God who wasn’t afraid to suffer and die on the cross is also not afraid to join us in our own times of suffering, no matter how terrible they may be. And when problems occur, God is the one who picks us up again. He heals our hurts and gives us new strength to carry on. And God is the one who keeps leading us forward through life. With God protecting us, a stumble in life doesn’t mean the end. Instead God works through the evil and the problems we encounter and still makes them work out for our benefit.
With God beside us, failure is never the last step of our lives. The hurts we suffer will never define us. And with God helping us, our problems will never mean the end of all hope. Because, as Psalm 121 reminds us, God is dependable, and he is always watching over us and caring for us in everything we do – not just today, but forever.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis