I wrote this a week or so ago, but have been unsure whether to post it, worrying it may be a little heavy! But I figure it may encourage someone somewhere so I’m going to be brave and post it anyway! Here goes…
I have been continuing with my ‘Stepping Up’ book which I have been posting about from time to time. It’s a workbook by Beth Moore based on some prayer songs (‘Psalms’) written for Jewish pilgrims, which can be found in the Bible – and it’s really all about journeying closer to God. I’ve reached Psalm 124, and here are my reflections on it:
As a Christian, I would be lost and rootless without my faith, but most Christians have experienced times where personal struggles or things happening around them have left them questioning God and perhaps even wondering whether to give it all up or go in a different direction. For example, for me, those times have taken the form of struggling to come to terms with things I’d done, finding it hard to let go of labels given to me, confusion about what to do in life, grief in a break up, a fallout with a friend, depression, disappointment when things have not turned out as expected, feeling terrible at a job I was doing, exhaustion, insecurity, loneliness…. the list goes on. It’s really the stuff of life, the stuff that everyone experiences from time to time. And usually we take the ups and downs of life as they come and stay positive. Sometimes, though, particularly when more than one ‘trial’ comes at once, we find ourselves sinking under it. And it is in those times that for some Christians, our faith, precious as it is, can become vulnerable too.
Psalm 124 helps us to find a new perspective though. The writer reflects on what would have happened if God was not with us, protecting us from harm and bringing us through the darker, scarier times in life. For many Christians today, when we look back on our tougher times, we realise that God’s eyes never left our stumbling journey for a minute. Often, He brought to us other people to encourage us, to speak truth to us, to show us kindness. He may have spoken to our hearts privately and lifted our spirits. Maybe he put songs or books or places in our path to carry us through. And always he led us out the other side with a stronger faith and an open door to the next season of our lives.
As I’ve explained before, Beth asks her readers to write their own versions of the Psalms we read so here is my Psalm 124. Rather melodramatically, but sincerely, I want to dedicate this post to some people. They are all people who, I believe, God has used to help me through some harder times, as I hope my Psalm expresses. It’s just a little thank you to all the people who’ve been there for me, but especially to Toni, Steve Bunting, Mum and Dad and Andrew. And of course it’s a thank you to God for hanging onto me all these years. I hope also, it might encourage one or two readers who might be in a difficult time right now – I pray it gives someone a little hope.
My Psalm 124
If the Lord had not been by my side
If the Lord had not been by my side
When grief, shame, hurt, and weakness fell on me
Then they would have swallowed me alive
In their power against me
Then the waters would have engulfed me
My small soul would have been pulled beneath the raging waters –
I would have been lost.
Praise the Lord,
Who has not let me be ripped apart by these things.
He has set me free from traps littered along my path – He made escape routes every time!
He gave me brothers and sisters to gently prise open the nets and cages and untangle the ropes;
Mothers and fathers to guide me away from danger;
Friends, who, with kind eyes and patient hearts,
Reached out their hands and pulled.
My help has always been in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.