If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation! (Psalm 91:14-16)
I read Psalm 91 this morning, the NIV translation and also the Message translation above. I love these verses but I couldn’t help but think about the times in life when it doesn’t seem like God is rescuing us or getting us out of trouble. What then?
Sometimes people still get the terminal diagnosis from the doctor.
Sometimes people still lose their job or their house.
Loved ones still die.
Horrible and evil things still take place in this world.
I’ve come to understand that the only way any of those things make sense and the only way a person can be walking through a seemingly endless valley of pain and still say…”Yet, I will praise Him!” is because that person has done what the Psalmist suggests here: Gotten to know God.
And, it’s not simply head knowledge, it’s a heart knowledge. When we get to know God there’s a confidence and an assurance that goes beyond the here and now. It’s infinitely bigger than our circumstances.
I think about the Apostle Paul and the encouraging words he would write to other believers while sitting in a jail cell. Paul was filled with hope and it was that hope that gave him the strength and the perspective to write messages such as this one over and over again.
“But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.” Philippians 3: 7-11 (bold mine)
My goal is to know him...
Sometimes, life feels like a huge jigsaw puzzle and if this one important piece is missing, then the picture in front of us will fail to make sense. Paul? He had all the pieces he needed to keep moving forward in his faith. The picture was clear.