Read Psalm 27
Today we will focus on Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light –
He is to me the source of light, He guides me and leads me. Light that changes the way I deal with darkness, troubles, sorrow.
and my salvation—
He saves me, delivers me; He is my safety, my victory, my liberty
whom shall I fear?
given these truths, nothing can make me dread, tremble, be terrified, doubt His goodness and care for me
The Lord is the strength of my life—
He is my fortress, protection, refuge, safety, stronghold, defense
of whom shall I be afraid?
It bears repeating! given these truths, nothing can make me dread, tremble, be terrified, doubt His goodness and care for me
I will never forget the day I got a call from the hospital that our daughter Emily, 6 days old at the time, had suffered a massive seizure and stopped breathing. They told me to come as quickly as possible, as she wasn’t expected to live. We had taken her hospital the day before because she had a fever. This was “back in the day” when moms didn’t stay with their babies in the pediatric ward… it was also the year that a number of babies had been snatched from hospitals.. I was terrified to leave my tiny, precious, and very sick baby girl.
We had just gotten to hold Emily, to celebrate her birth, after a high risk and complicated pregnancy, where her identical twin sister, Amy, died in utero during the 6th month of my pregnancy. We had spent the rest my pregnancy praying that Emily would live, since the twins shared the same amniotic sac and at any time, I could go into spontaneous labor due to a myriad of complications that could occur, while I carried both babies, until Emily was strong enough to be born. The doctor had not given us good odds. Her birth was a celebration of a miracle… and simultaneously filled with sorrow at the stillbirth of her twin.
…as I kissed her goodbye the night before, when we had to leave her in the hospital, and prayed that God would keep her safe until I returned the next day. I fought back the fears… that someone would take her… that she would cry and no one would come hold her… that she was alone after sharing the womb with her sister and spending most of the time since her birth in our arms.
I hung up the phone and headed to the hospital. My body still swollen and sore from her birth, and my heart aching for our Amy… a strange calm came over me. I remember thinking, well Lord , if we only get to have her for 6 days… at least we had those… thank You for those.
Maybe it was hormones… or exhaustion! But I believe it was the Spirit of God that gives us a peace that passes understanding. It was this same peace that held and sustained me through the subsequent 2 weeks as Emily’s life teetered on the brink and we waited… hoping, praying, crying, asking for another miracle.
Fast forward 26 years. Our adventurous daughter Emily is away on an 11 month mission trip, called The World Race. She has traveled all over Asia, and is currently in Western Europe. These past 2 months she has been in Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and is headed to Romania next month, where we are scheduled to visit her… all of these countries much closer to the unrest in Ukraine than we would choose for her to be.
People continue to ask me if I am worried about her, am I sure that she is safe? Their hearts are in the right place and I appreciate their concern. I answer to both questions is “No, but I am not afraid for her, I really am at peace with her being there.”
When worry does threaten to overtake me, I remember that God has my precious Emily in the palm of His hand. He will be her strength, her protection, her fortress, as He has been since before she took her first breath.… and I release her, again, to His care, and pray He strengths my heart and my faith. ( a “Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief” kind of prayer!)
I don’t think it is foolish naivety, but rather a strong faith that whatever happens- even the worst I could ever imagine- God will continue to be my light, salvation and my strength. I will choose to cling to this and not entertain fear. Some days-ok hours- it is harder than others. But ultimately that same peace that passes understanding sustains and comforts me again as it did 26 years ago and countless times since.
God has seen me though some very difficult things in my life. He is my light- the source of life, and my salvation- my ultimate Savior. Fifty-one years into this thing called life, I am battle scarred and weary at times, and yet when life has been the hardest, I always come back to these truths… and in doing so, I hold fast to Him and remind myself, “whom shall I fear.”
We all have fears. Maybe you are burdened, battle scarred, your hope threatening to slip away… or in need of rescue, reassurance, salvation, strength and peace. The Psalmist, David, was as well. In his hour of need, fleeing for his life, he penned the words of this beautiful Psalm. Like him, we must remember and repeat the truth. When life threatens our peace and confidence we must focus on, cling to and trust our good and loving God.
What fears, struggles and/or sorrows has God seen you through?
How did you experience His peace, strength, protection?
What battles did you fight in order to cling to Him?
Who can you encourage with these words today? (Not as a band aid to their pain, but as a balm for the wounds they are suffering.)
God is our light, our salvation and our strength, so fear does not rule over us. This truth does not discount or diminish our pain, sorrow and struggle. This truth gives a place to find peace, rest, protection and light in the midst of it.
Read Psalm 27 in a few different versions.
This is simple thanks to the internet: here Psalm 27 in parallel translations:
The Story Behind Psalm 27: Read 2 Samuel 18:19-27
An interesting and thought provoking sermon on Psalm 27
Daily Lectionary readings:
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about ½ hour a day)
No assigned chapters on Sundays, so catch up if you are behind.
Matthew & Mark should be complete at this point.
image compliments of: http://tharderdesign.blogspot.com/2011/03/psalm-271.html