The movie playing on my TV was tense; a true story of four American soldiers in Afghanistan. pinned down, taking fire from every direction. Rocket propelled grenades exploded, spraying the men with shrapnel. Bullets whined passing by. Men shouted. Then, I hit the ‘pause’ button! All was still. The action was suspended! This morning I would sure like a ‘pause’ button for life, a way to make it all just stop. How about you? Are you under pressure, wishing for an escape? Are the grenades landing close, so to speak?
In this life we are in a daily war with Self, with sin, with Satan and there is no pause button. The conflict is is unstoppable but there is this amazing word from David. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:5) The mental image is almost absurd. David says that God invites him to sit down to dinner right in the middle of the war! That Scripture held my heart together this morning. There is an invitation not to escape, but to know that God is near, here, ready to meet my basic needs.
Today, whatever the struggle, whoever is firing on you – man or Devil – you can choose to sit down to renewal with the One who knows you best and in whose hands are held every moment of every day stretching from yesterday into eternity. David knew hard times and difficult places. Some were the result of his own failures and mistakes. Some came his way because of those whose hatred for him was implacable. Being human, David wearied in it all, and even sometimes wondered aloud if God had abandoned him. He felt alone and afraid. But, he also knew where to turn in those moments.
He paused and waited! And, we are instructed and strengthened by the songs he left us as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. “The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger— so why should I tremble?” (Psalm 27:1, NLT) “The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” (Psalm 27:4, NLT) “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10, NLT) “Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14, NLT)
While life does not come with a pause button, we can make the choice to sit down to dinner with God on the battlefield. And, we must. I must! When the conflict rages, it is most difficult is to stop, to wait. We want relief, answers, rest. God invites us to His Presence, to His counsel. David did not run off to some far distant place, nor did he slip into a cave and try to sleep! He waited – focused and expectant.
Finding renewal in the Presence of the Lord can happen in so many different ways.
We can a break for a few moments to refocus, to sing a song, to read a Bible passage of promise.
We might need to find a day in our full schedule where we only reflect, meditate, and pray.
We may be called to simply ‘stand,’ to choose to go forward in life, expectant, even as God seems hidden, as we feel forgotten.
Are you facing something that looks impossible? Does tomorrow seem to be full of uncertainty and confusion? Are you broken, bloodied, perhaps even full of self-doubt? Have you given it your best, been tested to the limits, and apparently came up wanting? Let David’s Psalms give you Abba’s counsel. Come, wait on the Lord! Do not seek soul solace in things, pleasures, or diversions. Refuse fear.
Take this word from the Word and live in it, by choice.
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; … I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:1, 5-6, NIV)
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:5-6, NIV)
O come to the Savior,
He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul
In the “Haven of Rest,”
And say, My Beloved is mine.”
I’ve anchored my soul
In the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep,
O’er the wild stormy deep;
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.
The Haven Of Rest
Gilmour, Henry L. / Moore, George D. © Public Domain