What a Friend

What a Friend

“If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would have lived in the land of silence.  When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.  When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”  Ps 94:17-19
Who we are today is an accumulation of all that has happened in our lives in the past.  Hurts, slights, rude comments, failures, etc, all shape who we are.  For some, you can remember exactly how one comment, made ten years ago, made you feel.  If you allow yourself to remember that comment, the emotions of the moment rush back into your heart and your mind.  That comment, that slight, that rejection, has shaped your decision making and risk taking for decades.  If you allow it, that one situation, overshadows the thousands of other positive situations in your life.  Those negative comments become more life defining than the truth statements God has made about you.  For some, their inner man struggles with filtering out the negative and it is a continual battle to not allow those thoughts to overshadow how you view everything today.
If you notice, the Psalmist today speaks of his inner man struggle.  He speaks of his soul, his thoughts, and the cares of his heart.  His struggle is one he has had in the past and it speaks of the struggles he has in the present.  The struggles of the past have not diminished over time.  He sees them as something that could have truly overwhelmed his soul.  They shaped how he viewed other events in his life.  He struggled with always thinking that he was about to fall or fail.  Even today, he does not have peace but is worried about so many things that could go wrong.  Will these cares be more than he can handle?
Some hearts just seem bent this way.  They hold on to the negative and minimize the positive.  They do not dwell on the 5 positive statements given to them at church and they dwell on the one statement that may have been a little dig.  Their life can be summarized by reciting the struggles that they have faced rather than victories won.  They are not exaggerating these troubles as much as they are just allowing them to shout the loudest.  Life is defined, not by all that is good, but by all the cares on their plate.
It is true that some folks have had more difficulties in life than others.  Their struggles have been many and have been deep.  But it is also true that all of life is difficult.  We live in a fallen world with fallen people.  We, ourselves, struggle with thinking and hearts that have been effected by sin.  It is why we must do as the Psalmist did.  He did not allow his life to be defined by the struggle but to be defined by the work of God in his life.  His soul has been strengthened and refreshed by God.  His foot did not slip because God’s promised and faithful love held him up.  In another Psalm we are assured that even if we do fall, he helps us up!  We have a choice to dwell on the truth that we fell or we can rejoice that when we did fall, God picked us up, brushed us off, and allowed us to continue in his strength.  We can choose to seek his consolations in Scripture so that the cares that seek to overwhelm us today become pools of refreshing, cool drinks that bring comfort to our minds and hearts.  He will never leave us or forsake us, he is our strength and shield, he never withholds anything good, he goes before us, and he is a good father who gives good gifts.  
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock”.  Is 26:3,4  You have a choice today, look at your struggles or stay your mind on the Lord God.  Look to him who promises to keep you in perfect peace.

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