Tag Archives: psalm

Don’t See God Working? Where Are You Looking?

Psalm 92:5-6
5 How great are your works, O Lord, how profound your thoughts! 6 The senseless man does not know, fools do not understand.

God is everywhere, at all times. God is with us even when we can’t feel Him near. So why do some people believe He doesn’t exist?

How can a Good God Let Bad Things Happen?

People often wonder, “if there’s a God, why does He cause bad things to happen?” They are not caused by God, because God does not do evil. But sometimes He allows things to happen to us because they are teachable moments.

Tragedy as well as gaiety shape us into the people we are supposed to become, over time. The car accident that shattered your leg may well have taken you out of a successful sports career, but if that had never happened, would you have met the lifelong friend you made in the hospital, who directed you to a new career which you found utterly more fulfilling? Being fired from that well-paying but high-stress job may leave you near poverty for several months, but if you hadn’t left it when you did, you might have died from the stress, and God still has a purpose for you elsewhere.

God Does Grand Works, Works We Can’t Even Fathom

As this verse says, God is always working, and His works are truly great in scale. He has aligned everything–and I mean EVERYTHING–in perfect sync. You might be a few minutes late to a party and be angry at the slow-moving traffic ahead of you, only to arrive on the scene of an accident, which, if you would have been on time, would have involved you. (This happened to me last winter; I’m shaking still thinking about it.) Your family members’ bickering may reach a fever pitch at your house for the holidays, only to reveal that there is some long-held bitterness and resentment, which has never been expressed…and it leads to full reconciliation within days.

No matter where we look, God is in control, in ways we don’t even imagine. The flows of traffic, just like the flows of rivers, are managed by His hand; even our own personal losses, inflicted by others, can be and are used by God to help us grow as people, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. My huge, overwhelming failure as a teacher shaped my life with its tragedy; I thought I would never recover from the severe depression that very nearly ate my whole personality. And yet, God used that to show me that there was a better place I fit in His plan–that He meant me to serve in another career.

If we choose not to see God working, how He places us in people’s lives just when they need our particular skills, and places others in our lives when we have lost our way, then we are truly “senseless,” and “fools,” as the verse says. Not to say we all aren’t fools sometimes; many is the time I have only felt God’s works after I realized how much worse off I could have been. We just have to be willing to look around and admit God’s presence–it’s not just “coincidence,” not “fate” or “destiny,” but GOD, bringing us to new positive experiences and using the trials we face to teach us how to depend on Him.

In The Shadows, God Is Still There

Psalm 23:4
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23, written by David, endures as one of the most comforting psalms in the Bible. David had certainly been through enough trials during his life, trials in which God had rescued him and preserved him, so he knew firsthand the supporting love of God. He had had to run from the first king of Israel who planned to kill him (Saul); he had had to lead the Israelite nation back to God amid much dissent. So David knew, both as a God-fearing king and as a human being, that God could reach through the shadows he felt around him and be with him.

This psalm depicts God as a shepherd, and us as His flock; the images of the rod and staff, symbolizing leadership and guidance, show God’s characteristics as a fair and just God, as well as a loving and forgiving God. We, as spiritual “sheep,” tend to scatter sometimes and find ourselves in unfamiliar and scary places; this verse reminds us that God is still very close by, even when we feel terribly afraid and alone.

There have been times when I have been lost (literally), unable to find my way home or find my way to the place I was heading to. In those moments, I felt that shadows loomed up around me, shadows of fear and of possibly never getting back to safety. And yet, in each situation, just the right people showed up at just the right time to point me towards the right road to take. Spiritually, this has happened to me several times as well–guidance shows up at the moment when I am feeling isolated and in pain. This is God’s doing; in each case, He knew my need and answered it, both to show that He exists and to remind me that I need to trust in Him.

All of us need a reminder sometimes that God is still with us, even in the shadows where we think He won’t come to us. Even when you are the creator of the shadows around you, even when you think God won’t even see fit to look at you, He will. He passes through the walls of misunderstandings and pain as if they are not there, because to Him, they aren’t. He sees the soul in us and offers help, if we but trust Him; after all, He is the One who created us and knew us before we were even born.

God Brings Us Victory

Psalm 118:22-24
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone; 23 this was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

The whole of Psalm 118 shouts about victory during long suffering, of God’s goodness in times of anguish. These verses specifically tell about the nature of the victory–most likely, according to my NIV translation, the “stone” mentioned in verse 22 references the king of the Israelite nation, who has been ridiculed by other neighboring kings, but is protected by God through his faith. (Other Biblical interpreters through the years have also interpreted the stone to mean Israel itself, a nation that was disdained by other nations in the area.) Whichever reading of “stone” you take, this is a most joyful trio of verses, acknowledging that the king or nation which had been so scorned by man has been lifted up through God’s will, and given grace.

Think of how this applies to our lives. Other humans may look at us and scorn us, but God has a special purpose for each one of us–perhaps we will be the “cornerstone” of our chosen field of work someday, or the “cornerstone” of a loving family or close-knit group of friends. We just have to trust in God to bring us through times of adversity.

Even when we are at our weakest, feeling surrounded and scared, like the Israelites were before this joyful day, God is still there for us, and will bring us the victory we need. He may not bring us the victory we necessarily think we need, or the victory when we want it, but it will be perfectly timed and placed in His plan for us. Indeed, every day we live is a day the Lord has made for each of us, and the highest praise we can give God is to “rejoice and be glad in it.”

God Is, Has Always Been, and Always Will Be

Psalm 90:2
“Before the mountains were born, or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Our minds cannot even comprehend how long God has been around, as this verse describes in poetic terms. To Christians, God is the Creator of the world–He has always existed and will always exist (“from everlasting to everlasting”). In a social landscape that is always tilting back and forth as people struggle for power, on a planet that literally shifts underneath us and erupts above us, in a universe that is slowly but surely spreading apart, God is the constant in our lives, a source of strength, comfort, and wisdom.

This verse occurs within a psalm that not only shows God as eternal Creator, but also quick to act justly when we disobey, much like a parent. When we are small children, we often think of our parents as having always been around, and we fear their punishments and obey their rules. God is a much more expansive example of divine parenthood to us–we are His children, even if we have strayed, and while He punishes us for deliberate disobedience, He is also forgiving, as the best of parents forgive their children for the mistakes they make. God’s forgiveness, compassion, and love are intertwined with His wrath and justice; He guides our lives, as He has always done for humanity, and as He will continue to do.

When and How Do We Cry to the Lord?

Psalm 31:1-2
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

31:1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!

In this psalm, likely written during or just after a time of desperation in David’s life, David is crying out to the Lord as his security. He acknowledges God as his unfailing deliverer (the poetic meanings of “rock”), Who is righteous and just. This psalm is one in which David places complete trust in the Lord, and acknowledges his own dependence on God for safety and strength.

His fervent words can echo our own prayers during times of great strain. But when do we ourselves cry to the Lord? And how do we tell God we need His help? Many times as a younger believer, I wondered if my prayer was important enough for God to hear, or if I was using the right kind of words, and I’m not the only believer to wonder this. But if we only pray when times are “really bad,” and if we only pray using special “churchy” language, we may never truly rely on prayer the way that believers can and should be able to.

Prayer is not reserved for special occasions or privileged believers; it is the way all believers can talk to God, and without it, our faith can be easily shaken. It is a lifeline, and in Psalm 31 we see David depending on that lifeline. Thankfully, we don’t have to cry out in beautiful language, and we don’t have to pray just about “important” things; all God needs to hear is, “I know only You can help me, God. Please help.”