Psalm 17:5 (the message)
I’m staying on your trail;
I’m putting one foot
In front of the other.
I’m not giving up.
Psalm 17:6-7 (the message)
I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer.
So–answer! bend your ear! listen sharp!
Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;
take in your frightened children who
Are running from neighborhood bullies
straight to you.
So, I have slowly realized how the blogging world works. I have been at it for over two years so you might say I am a little late coming to the party. Smile. Of course when you write you hope people will read. Apparently, a method to gain readers is to visit lots and lots of other blogs and make comments or subscribe to them. The point being when you “like” a post or “follow” another blog, that person will most likely visit yours. I am excited to see new people follow my blog anytime (for any reason) because even if the motive is only to have me visit their site, maybe something I write will encourage them if they do happen to read it.
Last week I visited a blog that had “followed” mine. This man is extremely talented with breathtakingly beautiful nature photos on his site. I did enjoy looking at the photos and reading about his adventures! As I intended to comment on the beautiful pics, I noticed that about seventy-five other people were leaving comments and thanking him for following their blog on the same day! I just laughed! Wow! I know he is hard at work getting traffic for his blog! Along the way I stumbled across a comment from a woman telling him his pics were beautiful but how did he have the time while reading so many blogs? Smile…I had to check her site out!
What I found was a mom’s blog sharing her heart and journey as her oldest son was diagnosed with cancer and has currently finished his treatment. They await scan results to know if he is cancer-free. I have not made the habit of “liking” or “following” other people’s blogs to generate traffic for mine. I’m not at all implying there is anything wrong with it (I think the guy selling his photos is making good use of his blog that way! And if you do happen to read this God has certainly given you a talent!) but for me, it’s just not the way. So, when I followed this woman’s blog it was because it really tugged at my heart. She is a mother of six. She writes beautifully. Her hope is in God. I truly felt a tug on my heart to pray for her son, Thomas, and her family.
This morning something she wrote caught my heart: Doing the next thing is the best thing right now. And then I read Psalm seventeen. I thought of her post as I read verse five: I’m staying on your trail; I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not giving up. Then I thought of a friend I saw very briefly at church on Sunday. She seemed a bit sad, discouraged maybe. My heart this morning is to encourage anyone reading who may be fighting discouragment. Just like Thomas’ mom wrote about doing the next thing…just like David is declaring in this Psalm…Don’t give up. Do the next thing. Put one foot in front of the other. Stay on the trail God has laid out for you through His Word and Holy Spirit’s guidance in your heart. He’s not asking us to skip ten paces ahead of where we should be. He’s asking us to take one more step. Lay hold of our hope one more day.
How? If we are overwhelmed, deeply saddened, confused or despairing?
I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer.
Call out to God. Talk to Him. Sometimes the only words we can say are “Please help me, God” and that is enough. Expect Him to answer. Do you see David’s expectation? Why are we bothering to pray if we don’t expect Him to answer us? I don’t mean always expect God to answer our way, but I do mean expect Him to answer and fulfill the promises He gives us in His Word. God absolutely promises to help us, comfort and guide us.
Why? Why would God help us? Why would He care about our discouragement? Sometimes hardship just comes with living on planet earth and we cannot control it. Sometimes, however, it comes with the choices we make. So why would Creator care to reach down and touch us? Strengthen us? Respond to us?
Paint grace-graffiti on the fences; take in your frightened children…
This is my favorite part this morning. Grace-graffiti for His children. Oh yes, that five letter word with such deep and fathomless religious meaning. Check out a few definitions of grace from Merriam-Webster:
Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification…A virtue coming from God…Approval, favor…Disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.
Why does God answer us? Help us? Respond to us? Because He is full of grace. One of the virtues, or characteristics, of God is grace. He gives us undeserved help. When we trust in Him, we receive His approval and favor. God’s disposition toward us is one of kindness. We could not ever in a trillion years earn grace. We spend a lot, a lot!, of time earning and proving, but no amount of earning could ever pay for God’s grace. His undeserved kindness, approval, favor and help. My own disposition to earn and strive is juxtaposed to God’s.
Perhaps you are like me and you read David’s words and think he was a little too sure of himself. Expecting God to answer his cry for help. I say David was not sure of himself, for he knew what sort of man he was and was not. I say David’s expectation for help and a response was because of how sure he was of God. Maybe David was reaching a point in his life of realizing he could never earn what God was offering. But he could take it. Accept it. Receive it.
He could put one foot in front of the other, refusing to give up on the trail God had laid out for him. He could invite the Creator of the universe to paint over all of his human efforts with a grace-graffiti so bold and sure there would be no question from where his help had come.
How about you? Discouraged today? Running on empty? Hope deferred?
Do the next thing. Take another step, one foot in front of the other. Never give up. Call out to your God, expecting a response. Look for His grace-graffiti in the middle of your hardship. See it everywhere…His kindness, favor and help–regardless of your efforts or lack of. And be filled with the strength you need for that next thing, that next step.
Grace-graffiti is the work of an Artist. Your life is His masterpiece.