You are right and you do right, GOD;
your decisions are right on target.
You rightly instruct us in how to live
ever faithful to you.
My rivals nearly did me in,
they persistently ignored your commandments.
Your promise has been tested through and through,
and I, your servant, love it dearly.
I’m too young to be important,
but I don’t forget what you tell me.
Your righteousness is eternally right,
your revelation is the only truth.
Even though troubles came down on me hard,
your commands always gave me delight.
The way you tell me to live is always right;
help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.
–Psalm 119:137-144 The Message
Familiarity does not make one an expert. If you were to borrow my car, there would be things I’d want to tell you, because of my familiarity with the car and its quirks, to make your drive a bit easier. I’d tell you to where the switches for the seat adjuster are, the seat-belt height adjuster is, where the blindspots are, etc. But don’t let that fool you, I’m no expert on driving or on the car itself. If I went to the Bob Bondurant driving school, it’d be a humbling experience, and if you asked my how to overhaul the engine I’d be lost.
We’re all familiar with how our lives work. We know our schedules, our likes and dislikes, the adjustments we make to get through the day. But when I look at the Word of God and see His wisdom living, I realize that on my own I’m about as competent at living as I’d be racing without any further training at Laguna Seca. If I wanted to race, I’d get help from proven drivers. If I want to live and live well, I go to the One who created life to begin with. I want to go to someone who’s more than just familiar with life…to the Author of Life.
“Your promise has been tested through and through, and I, your servant, love it dearly.”
Through so many ups and downs in life, God has been there for me. I thought this morning I’d share some of the promises that the Author of Life has proved true in my life:
- “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.God’s grown my family.” (Mark 10:29-30 NIV) When I left home 17 years ago to go to Adventures in Missions, then to go to SIBI and off to mission work and ministry, I had no idea just how true, and how wonderfully full this promise really is. In every place God has blessed us with an extended family. And in truth, he’s gone well past “a hundred times as much” at this point. And yes, there have been challenges in each place, too. But that brings us to the next promise.
- “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV) In every difficult moment in my life, God has been my strength. Through the deaths of people I love, through my parents’ divorce, through struggles in ministry, He has been there, and has pulled me through. The promises, of course, are not absence of challenges in life, but the strength from God to overcome. We’re stronger exiting the tunnel than we were entering, thank God. Which reminds me of this passage from James, the brother of Jesus: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4 The Message)
- “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26 NIV) Ever find yourself so desperate in prayer that you’re not even sure what to pray for, or sometimes even about? Been there, too. And what a great encouragement it is that someone who know my heart and my needs even better than I do–a real expert on living according to the Spirit–is interceding before the throne of God on my behalf!
- And just two verses later Paul says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV) This is a tested and proven promise. I look back at times when I couldn’t see any good coming out of what was going on, only to see on this side of the tunnel that God was working ways I couldn’t understand to bring about His good purpose. God doesn’t wait for life to be perfect to accomplish His will, and we shouldn’t think that bumps in the road are an end to any of the good He has planned. To quote the Oak Ridge Boys, “It takes a little rain to make love grow…where the sun always shines, there a desert below.”
And that’s only the beginning. If you would, how about sharing in the comments section some of the promises you’ve seen God fulfill in your life as well.