Friday, May 29, 2009

Living life with God

I don't know about you, but I sometimes struggle to be encouraged when things go wrong. I want to keep my heart set on praising God, but I can get so focused on the difficulties or disappointments in life that praising or thanking God feels awkward if not impossible.

But Psalm 63 shows that it is indeed possible! David wrote this psalm when facing a great deal of trouble. Enemies were threatening his life, he was living life on the run, and he says in verse one that he's "in a dry and weary land where there is no water." That sounds a great deal worse than my petty problems. And yet David somehow manages to find encouragement in God. Just look at how vibrantly David describes his relationship with God while troubles rage all around him...
  • "earnestly I seek You" (v. 1)
  • "my soul thirsts for You" (v. 1)
  • "my flesh yearns for You" (v. 1)
  • "I have looked upon You" (v. 2)
  • "Your steadfast love is better than life" (v. 3)
  • "I will bless You as long as I live" (v. 4)
  • "My soul is satisfied" (v. 5)
  • "my mouth offers praise with joyful lips" (v. 5)
  • "You have been my help" (v. 7)
  • "in the shadow of Your wings, I sing for joy" (v.7)
  • "My soul clings to You" (v. 8)
Wow. He sounds like he's doing quite well. Excellent, in fact. And yet his circumstances are awful. If you're like me, you're wondering how does he do that? Well, it's no mystery. It's all about living our lives close to God, depending on God, rather than on our own by our own resources.

David had nurtured a life with God before his troubles came. That's what sustained him through the tough times, and that is also what the tough times pushed him back into. David didn't wait for a crisis to seek God. Verses 2-7 of this psalm are all about his memories of the good times he's had with God in the past -- "I have looked upon You in the sanctuary..." And the other verses are all about the confidence that his life with God have given him -- a confidence that doesn't fade when a crisis comes. So the key to being encouraged or thankful in all things is choosing to pursue a life with God -- spending time with Him each day! Pushing into Him, being earnest for Him, thirsting for Him, yearning for Him, clinging to Him, being satisfied only in Him, being joyful in praising Him!

All of this involves choices. Choices before troubles come and choices in the midst of troubles. But one thing seems clear: Having an ongoing life in God sure makes it easier to choose to be encouraged when life gets tough. It's intimacy with Him and dependence on Him that will help us to experience hope and joy in the midst of any challenges we face. Not only is this the only way to find true satisfaction in this life, but I believe it's the best way to show a watching world how truly great our God is!

© 2009 by Ken Peters

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