I’m closing out the year 2016 with a post on faith. As I reflect back on my life this year, I’m also doing a bit of thinking ahead in regard to the fast approaching new year of 2017. I’m indulging myself in dabbling in a bit of dreaming – in imagining what my life in this next year might hold.
“My word” (The word that I chose as a theme word for the year of 2016) for this past year has been “trust”. And God knows, I’ve needed it! On a daily basis, oh, how I have needed it! It’s the word that’s been at the forefront of my thinking, each time I have sat down to have a few quiet moments with my Creator – the One who designed me: my Father in heaven.
I really don’t believe I’ll choose a different word for 2017.
That may be a little surprising, but I just don’t know how I can possibly more on from something so fundamental. It’s a concept that’s at the core of what it means to walk with God, and it’s also certainly something that I haven’t yet achieved/perfected/arrived at. I need more practice!
(But given that perspective, I kind of wonder how I could ever move on from that being “my word”. Because I can’t see how anyone can EVER arrive, on this one.)
There’s also a more measurable, practical reason, as well, that’s causing me to not yet be ready to choose a different word as my “word for the year” in 2017. I’ve been reading through the Bible on a particular schedule, and as I’m reading, I’m attempting to read every chapter using a mental lens or filter, whereby I’m looking for the word, or idea of “trust”.
Here’s what I mean: not only am I looking for passages where I see the word, “trust”, used, but I’m also looking for the concept of trust, in general, being depicted in that reading, even if the word trust is not used. I could just use a concordance, and it would tell me every time the word “trust” is used, but that’s not all I’m going for. I’m looking for how the subject is even alluded to, or implied, within a particular reading. So basically, I’m looking for “hope”, and “faith”, as well, which are intimately related to “trust”. I haven’t yet made it through the entire Bible using this method, so I want to continue to pursue this line of inquiry in my own personal Bible reading in 2017.
Walking with trust, or dependence, on someone who’s invisible is hard!
So, the more I read of how that’s done, or talked about in the Bible, the more I’m reminded to try to “live it” in my own day-to-day existence.
In my scripture reading today, I read Psalm 130. I’m going to give you a peek into my process, of how I’m looking for “trust” in my Bible readings. Here’s the text, and my Bible is an NIV (New International Version). As I read a given passage, I ask myself 3 questions:
1) What does it say?
2) What does it mean?
3) What does it mean to me?
Question 1) What Does It Say?
So, here, quite literally, is the answer to question 1, “What does it say?”
(For your convenience, I have capitalized the words that I saw that caused me to think of the concept of “trust”, this morning).
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
therefore you are feared.
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.
O Israel, put your HOPE in the Lord,
for with the Lord is UNFAILING LOVE,
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
Question 2) What Does It Mean?
The psalmist clearly perceives himself as being in some trouble here: he’s in “the depths”, and he’s crying out to the Lord for mercy. He’s asking the Lord to pay attention to his cry.
He realizes that he’s a human being who has failed, but he’s trusting (there’s that word again) in the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. (Fear here denotes the utmost respect and reverence that one demonstrates toward one’s sovereign…not being scared.)
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” This means, I don’t have my answer yet. I’m in a state of waiting, but God’s very words can be counted on, as truth. I trust them, even when my present circumstances don’t bear out having received an answer yet. I know His character: it’s trustworthy. Therefore, I put my hope in Him.
“My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” During the time of David, and these psalms, cities depended on watchmen for their security. With no electricity, the nights were fearful things: the time when those with evil intent would likely strike. A watchman never knew what a night might bring: his job was always to be alert, and on the lookout. But one thing a watchman ~always~ knew: morning WOULD come. After 12 hours or so, morning could ~always~ be depended on to arrive.
The implication, to me, is that even though, a watchman might long for his shift to be over, and it might ~seem~ like morning was tarrying its arrival, morning, for sure ~would~ come. In the same way, as we choose to put our hope, and our trust in God, it can be with that same assurance: just as day ~always~ follows night, so God can be depended on. He is worthy of our trust.
“O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love, and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” Israel can not only put their trust in the Lord, they can put their optimistic, and very sure hope in the Lord. His love NEVER fails. Not once. Not ever. He Himself has paid the ultimate price, (the price a redeemer must pay). He has made the ultimate sacrifice, to buy Israel, his people, back out of slavery.
Question 3) What does it mean to me?
So many pits I’ve been in this year! I know I don’t use this blog to whine or complain very much, but those who know me in real life have been praying, regularly, for God to provide good paying work for our family. Being self-employed for the last 22 years has been a ~true~ faith walk. But I can say that without fail, God has demonstrated His unfailing love to us, over and over, and over again. So if once again I find myself in a pit? So what? That’s nothing new! lol
I have a loving Father whose ear IS attentive to my voice, and who IS trustworthy. And He can be trusted to show up, AGAIN. Just like morning shows up for the watchman. And in the meantime, how I want to please His heart by trusting Him in the “wait”. By trusting Him, during my “shift” on watch. His love NEVER FAILS. Not once. Not ever. Never. Even when the pill I’m swallowing is oh, so bitter. My Redeemer paid the highest price, to buy me back out of slavery. And now, I’m no longer called a servant. He calls me friend.
So, ultimately, in the midst of crying out for help, I end up with my own heart being changed. It overflows with gratitude and praise, because I know the One I’m crying out to. I know His head is inclined toward me, loving me with that unfailing love. And I trust Him.