“The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
Psalm 121:7 and 8
Faith shouldn’t have to abide in trials and tribulation; it shouldn't have to find itself amidst the deepest of challenges and hardship. Yet living in a sinful world it is often times the irrevocable truth that it does.
I often find myself wondering about the Psalms and the Psalmists. In a few short sentences they tell a story through song and poetry. Some of these are so joyous and happy, so full of rejoicing as peace and comfort comes easily, while other times they are just so bittersweet. Bitter in the suffering that is endured, yet sweet in the grace and mercy shown by the Lord God unto his children.
I wonder because I can’t imagine the vast array of feelings and emotions that must have been there. I, like everyone else, have my ups and my downs amidst my life, my good days and my bad, but nothing quite compares to the depth shown by these men of faith in days of old. I can’t imagine the circumstances that they had to endure through their lives for such power and poignancy to come through in their words and their thoughts. I have had, in the course of my life, my share of trying times that have tested the limits of my faith, yet there is nothing there that can be compared to the trials they had to endure.
Yet through it they clung to their faith, they held tight to it, knowing that their God would hear the cries of their spirit and would console their souls, preserving them evermore through His tender love, His gracious mercy and His everlasting compassion..
In the words of the Psalmist we hear that testimony. Though evil may be all around him, though its darkness may encompass him, the Lord will preserve him, protecting him each and every step of the way.
Often times we’re not given the context of these great confessions of faith, we don’t know the circumstances or the events that would cause them such struggle, yet what we are told is more important. God is ever faithful and He transcends all the things of this world through the power of His might.
And just as He showed in the darkest of days in the lives of the Psalmists, in the lives of the Prophets and the Kings, in the days of the Apostles and the Disciples, so too does He reveal Himself today in the plight and the suffering of those who find themselves amidst the darkest days of their lives.
In this age it’s not hard to cry out to the Lord and wonder where He is amidst the anguish and the agony of the Prisoners and the Captives. They experience such torment that we can’t even imagine ripped from their homes and their loved ones, their humanity and lives held cheap and meaningless by wicked men of iniquity and sin. Some die in far off lands, distant from their families, and we wonder what purpose could God have in all of this? Why does He let this persist? Why isn’t He there to protect them?
As it shook the faith of the Psalmists so too does it shake ours.
Yet we must remember that God is ever vigilant and ever present, there beside His children through all the dark days of their lives. Though the hearts of evil men may not be moved to show compassion or love unto those they oppress and subjugate, God’s heart shows them mercy and kindness. He preserves these, His children, in faith, comforting them by the power of His Spirit, and though not all may return home, He calls them to His presence and a world of peace where there is no more suffering or captivity when the forces of wickedness are on the rise and there is little we can do to stop it.
It’s hard to trust Him when it seems like He is distant or when there is nothing we can do to push back against such evil. But He is not distant, He is there throughout the struggle and the ordeal that try so on the souls of men. He is there to preserve them in faith and to comfort them in hurt, never forsaking them in His love. We may not like what happens, we may not understand why it does happen, but what it reveals is that there is more to it than just the temporal, there is the inevitable triumph of His love, whether it is found in this world or the next.
Trust therefore in the Lord, and know that He is there with all prisoners and captives, all hostages and slaves, even when we have a hard time understanding it or nothing in our experience can give us the understanding that we need. Know that even the most evil of men, robbing dignity from the lives of people, cannot rob the love that God shows unto His children. It is there as it was for the Psalmist, as it has been there through all ages and as it shall remain throughout all generations.
Never let anyone so degrade your soul or your spirit that they may rob you from the belief you have in the hope of our Heavenly Father. Abide in that faith, in that trust even when the struggle is hard and the chaos seems overwhelming never letting the wickedness of this world shake your faith in a loving and caring Heavenly Father who abides with His Children, preserving them forever, even when the forces of this world seeks so to destroy them. Abide in that faith, knowing the blessed assurance of our Lord, and the trustworthy commitment of His faithfulness in all things, in all plights and struggles throughout the days of this life.