Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 37. (MsgB)
I once was young, now I’m a graybeard— not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets. Every day he’s out giving and lending, his children making him proud.
Turn your back on evil, work for the good and don’t quit.
God loves this kind of thing, never turns away from His friends.
As I post this blog (2018), I’m 66 years old. We’ll be turning 67 in just a few months. While many know with certainty the exact day they came to Christ, I’m one of those who has come to Jesus over an entire lifetime. I actually can’t recall a day in my existence when I didn’t love Jesus.
Now, when some well-meaning, but obnoxious Christian begins to question me on that statement, I add quickly that I did pray the illustrious ‘prayer of salvation’ dozens of times with Billy Graham as he preached his salvation message on TV when I was young. Back in the day, Billy was on prime-time TV quite regularly. And with only three networks to choose from back then, that meant that almost 1/3rd of America’s TV watchers were tuned into Billy, hearing him so graciously invite folks to come back home to Jesus.
So when people question my salvation experience, I can tell them with certainty that I prayed with Billy nearly every time he asked people to get out of their seats. The sticky problem for me is that I just don’t know with any clarity which time my salvation prayer actually stuck!
So, as a 66-year old, when King David says in Psalm 37, “I once was young, and now I’m old”, I fully understand his position in life. Old age has its’ disadvantages for sure. Your bones aren’t quite as mobile, your energy level not quite what is was when you were younger, but, praise God, my pea-brain hasn’t shrunk in size quite yet! As a matter of fact, the older I get, the more I can better appreciate King David’s perspective on the life of a God-follower, as described here in Psalm 37.
Note that David says that he’s never seen ‘an abandoned believer.’
Now let me be honest here. Over the years, I’ve questioned that statement, simply because I’ve certainly experienced times in my life when I have felt abandoned by God. But here’s the catch. My feelings of abandonment over the years are just that.
And while feelings seem real when we’re feeling them at the time, in truth, my feelings are just a shifting reality based on earthly circumstances and determined only by my earthly perspective.
So here’s the real story. One not based on feelings, but based on biblical fact.
As a follower and friend of God, my Creator-King has never abandoned me during the entirety of my 66 years of existence. Oh yes, there have been difficult experiences, gut-wrenching fear, heart-stopping terror, emotionally-draining moments when all seems lost. But never, and I mean never, has my loving Father ever left me or abandoned me, leaving me to make it through these circumstances by the use of my own resources alone. I know, with great certainty, that God has rescued me hundreds and hundreds of times from my own troubles.
So have I felt abandoned? YES! Without a doubt.
But have I ever actually been abandoned?
Never. Not in the past. Not today. Not tomorrow.
I know with great certainty that my Redeemer lives and as long as I am living down here on this seemingly God-forsaken planet, I will never be alone. Nor will you.
Call this the ramblings of an old dude who has watched too much Billy Graham on TV, maybe?
But for me, like King David, this is my true confession.
I once was young, now I’m a graybeard— not once have I seen an abandoned believer…
My prayer: Father, forgive me when, at times, I feel abandoned by You. Thank You that You are not surprised, nor disappointed in me because of those real feelings of abandonment. And thank You, as well, that the real truth is that as long as I am alive and kicking down here in this forsaken place called Earth, You have pre-determined to never leave me, forsake me, or abandon me. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What circumstances are trying to convince me today that God has abandoned me or my family in times of great need? How am I allowing those feelings of abandonment to become reality when, in fact, I need to turn to the deeper reality found in Psalm 37, that there is no such thing as an abandoned follower of God?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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