Friday, February 10, 2017

My times are truly in His hand

Every time I read Psalm 31, a phrase in the middle grabs my attention and adjusts my oh-so-easily distracted perspective: "My times are in your hand" (Psalm 31:15a). That changes everything. In fact, it's a life-changer.

One reason that phrase gets my attention is because reading Psalm 31 in its entirety can feel like driving by an accident scene in which a great rescue is going on. David writes of his affliction and his distress (v. 7); he writes of grief and of sorrow and sighing, and of wasting away (vv. 9-10); he feels he's become a reproach and an object of dread, "forgotten like one who is dead" and "like a broken vessel" (vv. 11-12); there's terror and scheming, and "they plot to take my life" (v. 13). That's quite the gruesome car wreck.

But that is when the Great Rescue is mentioned. The Emergency Response Force has arrived! David suddenly shifts his focus and writes, "BUT I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!" (vv. 14-16).

What a declaration! In the midst of such horrible circumstances, David resolutely declares his trust in God! He's not going to let that accident scene suggest that his God can't be trusted. In fact, he's going to shout the truth in the midst of the confusion: "I trust in you!" – "You are my God!" Derek Kidner points out that the "I" and the "you" in those Hebrew phrases are emphatic, stressing the decisiveness and boldness of those statements. Whatever is going on around him and even inside him, David insists on declaring that God is still his God and that he will trust Him, confident in His never-ending, saving, steadfast love. But the phrase, "my God" is more than a mere theological acknowledgment – it is a personalized expression of closeness and relationship: He's my God. David is saying that "My God is with me, even in the midst of these difficult circumstances!"

But how can David be so amazingly certain of such truths in such incredibly tough times? It's because David understands one further important truth: his times are in God's hand. That changes everything. And it's true for every one of us. It means that the God of steadfast love is not only with us when things get tough, but is in complete control of every situation we face.

Think of it: my times – in God's hand. What a combination! "My times" means my circumstances, my challenges, my troubles, my victories, my day, my life. "God's hand" means God's power, God's strength, God's control, God's authority. Put those together and it means that no matter what happens to me as a child of God, I can be sure that my day is in God's control, and that my life is under God's authority. Nothing will happen to me that hasn't passed by His throne to receive His permission, and nothing will happen unless He has a sovereign purpose to work it for good in my life! My times are truly in His hand.

Let that turn your head when you hear it. But turn your head to look up at Jesus rather than down at this broken world we live in, and thank God, acknowledging that He has you in the palm of His hand. For David goes on to then adoringly write, "Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!" (Psalm 31:19).

© 2017 by Ken Peters

1 comment:

Salgal said...

Excellent Ken- thanks for sending it to me. Beautifully explained. Sometimes it's so hard in the midst of the chaos and mess to get our eyes on the Lord and remember these truths, but like David, struggle we must until we can also declare our love, trust and worship.