God keeps track so I don’t have to

Have you ever been so far behind that you’ve got practically no chance of catching up in your lifetime? Have you ever been so surrounded by chaos and craziness that you can’t keep your head above the waves no matter how good a swimmer you are? Have you ever trusted someone to help you stand up after life has beaten you down only to feel the shock of them kicking you while you’re too tired to defend yourself?

Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. How about you?

This isn’t a very good blog post.

Since last fall I’ve tried to make these posts deep and rich, full of more than one Bible reference and practical stories from life. But today’s post isn’t going to be like that, simply because I haven’t been able to write that kind of post.

But what’s true in the long, deep, rich posts is true in smaller posts like this one: God is always good, even when your situation isn’t; He never makes mistakes; and He always keeps His promises.

When I reach low points in my life, I run to the Psalms. It’s reassuring to me to read the words of the writers, especially the Psalms of David. David asked God hard questions. “Where are you?” and “How long will you be angry with me?” and “Why are these horrible things happening?” and “Why have my friends turned against me?”

There are no easy answers. God didn’t respond with platitudes or religious verbiage. He didn’t wave the questions away as though they didn’t matter. Instead He granted David (and the other Psalm writers) an understanding of Who He is.

Psalm 56

O God, have mercy on me,
for people are hounding me.
My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

They are always twisting what I say;
they spend their days plotting to harm me.
They come together to spy on me—
watching my every step, eager to kill me.
Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
in your anger, O God, bring them down.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what he has promised;
yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
in your life-giving light.

Not an overused religious cliche in sight, right? David doesn’t pull any punches when he’s talking about the state of the world and the kinds of people who want to destroy him. And I don’t know about you, but some of that sounds awfully familiar to me.

Everyone has people in their lives who are hurtful. We all have relationships that aren’t healthy in some way or another. And maybe no one is actively trying to kill you (I hope not, at least), I’d be willing to bet there are several who are trying to hurt your reputation. Maybe they’re even succeeding. But don’t give up. 

God isn’t blind. He isn’t ignoring you. And He isn’t ignoring them either.

But just because they’re getting away with it now doesn’t mean they’ll get away with it forever. Just because your life is rocky and crazy and overwhelming and frustrating right now doesn’t mean it will continue to be that way. Just because there are people and obstacles in your path that are causing destruction and pain right now doesn’t mean they’ll always be there.

Things may be tough right now, but God hasn’t gone anywhere. Instead of being angry and upset at Him for your life going differently than you wanted, spend the time asking Him what He has planned. Trust me, His plan is better anyway. Just trust Him. Do what He says is right. And keep moving forward.

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Stone steps at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

How getting stuck in the Cincinnati airport is kind of like life

Well … I anticipated that I would be posting from Newark, New Jersey, this morning. But those plans didn’t exactly pan out. Due to some mechanical troubles, we are still in Cincinnati, stuck in the airport trying to find a flight out. The battery in my laptop is limited, so I have to be brief.

Stone steps at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Stone steps at Glen Eyrie – Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Psalm 37:23.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.

This is the only verse that came to mind this morning. It’s good to remember that God is in control, especially in circumstances that are too big for us to understand. But it can be frustrating at times because we really think we need (and want) to know every step of the journey at the very beginning. But if we honestly knew everything that God planned for us to experience in our lives up front, I think we might die of fright.

God knows the paths that we’re going to take. And He knows what all those roads look like and He knows what we will need to go through to learn what He wants to teach us.

Our eventual destination today is Miami. The only flight that was available for us had to go through New Jersey. New Jersey! What the heck? But to get to Miami, that was the only way we could go. Now … well, who knows how we’re going to get down there. But I’m sure United knows best.

It’s the same with God. He may take us down some roads that don’t make sense to us. He may lead us in a direction that seems completely opposite to what we thought He wanted us to accomplish with our lives. But we have to trust Him. And if we do, He’ll work everything out. And not only will we arrive at our destination safely, we’ll get there with more than we had when we left.

Unlike United. Which will probably lose our baggage en route.