Our reading for Wednesday, February 6, 2019 is Psalm 18. 1-6.
I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. –NIV
Whenever we are faced with a life changing crisis we often feel as though our world is coming to an end, at least the world as we know it. We may describe our fear as death and rightly so as any life change will involve some grief. I do not know whether the threat the psalmist describes was actually a threat to his life or whether he is describing the state of his heart as he was facing some momentous change for which he was helpless to alter or at least limited in his ability to respond. It is these times when we run out of options that we lay our case before God.
We always have options over how we will respond to the surmounting challenges we face but we lack the god-like power to dictate our desired outcome. We do, however, have within our power to determine how we shall respond, whether it be in a positive, healthy and controlled manner or an unhealthy and destructive way.
This last Sunday a young 24 year old man altered his life by losing control in a local Denny’s restaurant over a domestic conflict which resulted in the shooting of three people. Fortunately no one was killed but forever this young man’s life shall be altered. Another more controlled response to his crisis would have been healthy for everyone and certainly secure for him hope for a better future.
The incident above is more dramatic an example to my point yet does illustrate the importance of how we respond to life altering challenges impacts the course of our life. Again, the psalmist may have been referring to a circumstance which threatened his physical life and not some state of emotional or relational well-being, but for us where we may be right now or will be in the future the issue is the path of emotional and spiritual health we do have power to determine. And the subject does impact our physical well-being in so much as our emotional state of mind we know impacts our physical health.
In any emotionally charged or relational challenge we need to keep our sense of composure by recognizing that God has our back. Ultimately our value is determined by the love and acceptance God has for us. The costly sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf should always remind us of our value to God even should God not answer our prayerful desires as we might want. When the Lord is our “Rock” and our salvation even should we be correct in our assessment of the injustice we face our hearts can be shielded from allowing evil to destroy our well-being by the knowledge of God’s care and help min our time of need.
The person of strong faith will be resilient and can tell themselves they shall not be moved or destroyed. We know God through his Holy Spirit can and will direct our paths to “greener pastures” and “still waters.” What we tell ourselves we will believe. When we speak the words of truth and remain steadfast in our faith God will save our lives; God will be the foundation of our deliverance from allowing circumstance to determine the outcome of our joy and peace.
I feel for that young man who perpetrated such an evil act. Those who he must have thought did him an injustice have won the day because he allowed his heart to lead him down a path of self-destruction. He may have felt he was the victim of a terrible injustice when he actually victimized himself. In less dramatic yet threatening ways we have the choice of faith and assurance of grace or be drawn into a self-destructive path of thinking and feeling. May we overcome through the power of faith and the grace of God toward us. Ultimately our own evil will be our destruction.