My heart is unwavering, God.
I will sing and make music—
yes, with my whole being!
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake the dawn itself!
I will give thanks to you, Lord, among all the peoples;
I will make music to you among the nations,
because your faithful love is higher than heaven;
your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
Exalt yourself, God, higher than heaven!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
Save me by your power and answer me
so that the people you love might be rescued.
God has spoken in his sanctuary:
“I will celebrate as I divide up Shechem
and portion out the Succoth Valley.
Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter.
But Moab is my washbowl;
I’ll throw my shoe at Edom.
I shout in triumph over Philistia!
I wish someone would bring me to a fortified city!
I wish someone would lead me to Edom!”
But you have rejected us, God, haven’t you?
You, God, no longer accompany our armies.
Give us help against the enemy—
human help is worthless.
With God we will triumph:
God is the one who will trample our adversaries. (Common English Bible)
“Our faith is not meant to get us out of a hard place or change our painful condition. Rather, it is meant to reveal God’s faithfulness to us in the midst of our dire situation.”David Wilkerson
Little did my wife and I know when we were married decades ago that our vows to one another would be put to the test time and time again over the years: a commitment to be with each for better or for worse; to hang in there whether rich or poor; to persevere in sickness or in health till the very end. Through all the ups and the downs, I am tremendously thankful that we are close and together. We have truly taken the stance that, no matter the circumstance, we will face it together.
Just as in a marriage, where there are times that stretch the relationship and the couple must make choices for the benefit of each other, so the follower of God will face difficulty as a believer and must decide to remain faithful.
The psalmist decided on a steadfast heart toward, a committed and faithful stance which would stick to the Lord, no matter the circumstances. The psalmist also recognized God is forever faithful, that steadfast love would continually mark the relationship toward humanity.
If we lived by the whims of our feelings, many of us would never get out of bed in the morning, and not even bother to put on pants when we do. Yet, many believers take such an approach in their relationship with God: praying whenever it might fancy them to do so; and praising the Lord only when things are going their way.
Yet, the psalmist chose to give thanks because of who God is. David, the psalmist, made the daily decision of being faithful by choosing to look at the faithfulness of God. The truth is that God is with us, and the Lord longs for us to recognize and enjoy it because that is the nature of a committed relationship.
It makes sense to tether oneself wholly and completely to a God who is consistently faithful and loving. The vicissitudes of life are unrelenting, having us ride waves of ups and downs. No one living in 2019 saw a pandemic coming in 2020 with all the changes associated with it. And who knows what the rest of this year will be like? Or next year?
There are a great many things we do not know. Yet, there are two unchangeable truths for which we can anchor our souls: God loves us; and God is with us. When all else is going to hell around us, the rock of the Lord’s presence and mercy is unfazed and endures.
So, in those times, when we feel like giving up or giving in, we can come back to a psalm like today’s, and choose to give thanks, sing, pray, and affirm our vows to God.
Remember your baptism. Remember to whom you belong. Remember the steadfast love of God and allow such love to shape your life – even when every circumstance around you is off and awry. Our relationship with the Lord will be tested time and time again, yet God is steadfast and will not let go.
For you Jesus Christ came into the world; for you he died and for you he conquered death. All this he did for you. We love because God first loved us.
Gracious God, bless and strengthen your people daily with the gift of your Holy Spirit; unfold to us the riches of your love, deepen our faith, keep us from the power of evil and enable us to live a holy and blameless life until your kingdom comes. Amen.