Psalm 18:1-2 (the message)
I love you, God–
you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God–the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
These verses brought such comfort to me this morning! I have always loved the Psalms and often I go to them for the comfort I receive in reading the honest prayers and songs of these men of God. See, any time I feel an inner struggle or the weight of trying to “work” my relationship with God, I am drawn to the Psalms, especially David’s because we know so much of his life, and I hear the invitation of Creator to be completely real with Him.
I love you, God–you make me strong. Even at this first line I felt such encouragement. When we are in a season of “one step at a time” we can become very aware of our human weaknesses and frailty. As the desert wind blows the gritty sand in our faces, we can become worn down by the heat and become focused on the weather around us instead of the weather-maker. For me, my experience with God has deepened more than ever as I became Psalm-real with Him about my life and where I was at. I could try all my life to put my behavior into the right box or the right formula, but what I discovered was that giving God the honest mess of who I am gives Him much more to work with and then my life, behavior and words change because my heart changes. So, for me this morning I sense His strength in me as I read this reminder that God makes me strong. And, indeed, He does.
I also was really touched by David’s reference to God as his “rescuing knight.” How many times have we felt that we just needed our knight-in-shining-armour to rescue us! There are times and seasons that each of us walk though for various reasons that are uphill. As I described before, the “one step at a time” seasons of life where you feel you are carrying a weight that is slowing you down. I kind of think one or two things can happen in times like this. We can either get discouraged or fall under condemnation and quit, or we can determine to put one foot in front of the other knowing deep inside the season will come to an end. There was a time in my life when I thought God was measuring (because sometimes we do!) my spiritual depth by how well I could hold it together or what “face” I could put on my one foot in front of the other times. Now I believe in my heart that as our shaky feet and calloused hands press on He sees our faithfulness and it is precious to Him. Does God want us to live as overcomers in the fruit of His Spirit? Absolutely! But I believe He wants the overcoming attitude and fruit to be a response to the realities of Who He is in our hearts and lives. Sometimes, even in all our know-how, we will walk through the heat and carry some weight but there is tremendous comfort in knowing that He is indeed our rescue and even with one tired foot in front of the other, He is making us strong.
If you are in a “one step at a time” season today, please be encouraged that God is making you strong. See, sometimes the truth is we don’t truly relish the taste of victory without a battle scar or two. Sometimes we forget that true encouragement comes from holding each other up so we can keep moving and that God is always for us. The only thing that is going to stop you from reaching your place of rest and refreshment is giving up. Don’t give up! Voice your struggle to God, the only One who truly sees and understands every detail of your life. The only One able to make you strong. The only One to which your sweat and tears are truly kept in a bottle, precious to Him as you continue to fight your fight and run your race, however graceless it may appear at times.
Determine to keep moving. Your rescue is coming and you will be more for it in the end.