The Corona Virus may have halted a lot, but one thing it couldn’t stop was Spring planting season here in Illinois. The farmers have been busy preparing their fields to then sow corn and soybeans in neat straight rows for as far as the eye can see. They couldn’t allow themselves to become complacent and apathetic while they sat in self isolation…not when the soil was telling them, “Now is the time!” But every farmer knows you can’t plant until you first plow…you can’t sow until you first break up the Winter-hardened soil. So maybe Spring is telling us all, “Now is the time” we break up our unplowed ground that has sat fallow all these weeks of isolation…and plant some seed for the Lord.
We will all go through Seasons of our lives when sickness, loss, and life-changing trials will take us deep into that Valley of the Shadow of Death. But it’s not until we come out on the other side that we can then truly appreciate what we’ve learned from it all. For it’s then that God can remind us of His unfaltering Presence… His overwhelming grace and mercy…and His infinite love. We may not experience a lot of joy in the middle of that trial…but we can still have the peace that passes all understanding.
Distress comes in many different forms, and no one is immune to worry. But it’s how we approach difficulties and troubles that can make the difference between barely wallowing through them, and coming out the other side better not bitter. This Psalm gives us a blueprint or a road-map, if you will, when it comes to offering our supplication before the Lord. First we need to realize that when we cry out to God, He actually hears us. He’s not some far off entity… aloof and distant. Rather, God longs to hear our prayers and work in and through the troubles we’re going through. Next, He’s a just God full of kindness…He knows what we’re going through and wants to help. Finally, He’s a listening God. For when there’s no one else you can confide in…He’s always there.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows the secrets of my heart,(Psalm 44:21) and the way that I take.(Job 23:10) There isn’t one detail about us that catches God by surprise. For every one of our days here on earth are numbered and known by Him intimately. And as we walk in right standing before Him…even if troubles and hardships come…it tells us here, God will bless the impossible and grant mercy to the hopeless.
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s loving kindness towards us. For as sinners, we have no right to claim that any of our good works will get us any closer to heaven…for they won’t. It is only by putting our faith and trust in Jesus that we can be saved…and it is only by His unmerited grace and mercy towards us that it can happen.
When Jesus came to earth He made the greatest sacrifice of self-abnegation and self-denial possible. He humbled Himself and renounced His Divinity. In other words, Jesus went out of Himself in order to enter into fellowship with us. So why are we so against doing the work to enter into relationship with Him? We’d like Jesus to just save, change, and sanctify us without lifting a finger in the process. Or we’d rather bargain with Him first – (“You do this for me first God, and maybe then I’ll start working on myself.”) The bottom line is that we also must go out of ourselves in order to enter into a right relationship with God…and waiting around until He does all the work in our lives (that we need to be doing) will never happen.
Solomon asked God for a discerning heart and the wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong and God was pleased. (I Kings 3:9-10) For Solomon wasn’t asking for the superficial or trivial, or things that had no eternal significance…he was asking for wisdom. I once worked with a Doctor who started calling me Prudence. When I asked why, he stated it was how I conducted myself dealing with patients and that he appreciated my common sense and prudent approach. When you ask God for wisdom, understanding, discretion, and His Will in your life… He happily will oblige. (James 1:5)
You may think you live a blameless and upright life, but it will never measure up before God. It’s not until you recognize that you can’t save yourself. No amount of right living and good deed doing will save your soul from hell. That’s because the only way to God is through Jesus…the only way to salvation is by believing that Jesus died for your sins…the only way to heaven is by uniting yourself with Jesus by faith. And this saving faith will never disappoint as you learn to trust in Him.
It asks in Psalm 24:4, “Who may stand in His Holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol.” To stand in the presence of the most Holy God is a place of reverence, but also refuge. It’s a place of refreshment, rejoicing and reflection. But it’s also a place of rebuilding and reconciliation. Spend some time today in the Lord’s presence to fully experience His love, peace and perspective.