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Whatever is going on in my life always causes a song to pop into my brain. If you’ve hung around me in real life, you know I will spontaneously burst into song all day long. There’s a song for every situation, and as I was pondering what I wanted to write about today, the song that popped unbidden into my mind, was an old ’70’s Dobie Gray classic:
“Gimme the beat boys, and free my soul,
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
And drift away…”
(Insider trivia: once, in the 80’s, the Big Bison got to play guitar for Dobie Gray on this very song, on Wolfman Jack’s cable TV show in Baltimore, playing the very cool signature opening guitar hook. If you know this song, can you hear it playing in your mind right now?)
BOY, oh boy, have I ever digressed…
Anyway, today’s psalm for the Beth Moore study “Stepping Up” was Psalm 124.
Here’s the text:
If the LORD had not been on our side –
let Israel say –
if the LORD had not been on our side
when men attacked us,
when their anger flared against us,
they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
would have swept us away.
Praise be to the LORD,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
out of the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
So, Beth emphasizes the first part of the psalm, “If the LORD had not been on our side” and encourages her readers to stop and think for a moment: Where would I have been had it not been for the Lord?
If you are a Christian, have you ever just stopped to think about that for a minute?
“How different would my life have been were it not for the Lord?”
For some of us, our story of giving our hearts to the Lord is a true darkness to light conversion story. We were on a path leading rapidly to our own self destruction, and were it not for the Lord, we WOULD have crashed and burned.
For others of us, our story of coming into relationship with the Lord is a little less clearly defined, and it can be harder to tell when and where we actually came into a state of defining ourselves as “His”.
I think I fall into the second camp: brought up going to church. Raised by two fine upstanding human beings who taught me right from wrong and loved me unconditionally, and who had me at church every time the church building’s doors were open. It’s not quite as easy for me to trace how I came into this relationship that I have with Him. It’s hard for me to imagine my life without Him.
And yet, this much I do know: were it not for the Lord, I would certainly have drifted away from this fine moral upbringing I was given.
Drift away….. as Dobie Gray would say.
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love….as the hymn writer Robert Robinson would say…
You know, I have felt the enemy trying to convince me that I COULD drift away. It is a lie that is very easy for me to believe. Because I feel the coldness of my heart sometimes. I know the selfish apathy that at times grips my heart like an icy fist.
A long time ago, I attended a church full of dead people. If they weren’t dead, a lot of them were doing a mighty good imitation. And I felt my own passion for the Lord just shriveling up and dying on the vine. I had no nourishment going in, and I was slipping fast. I could almost see myself, striving with every remaining ounce of dwindling strength that remained, trying my best to hang on to the Lord, and yet beginning to listen to the voice in my mind that was whispering to me: “It’s all been a lie. It’s all a fake. You’re a fake. You don’t really believe this stuff, anyway….”
In my mind’s eye, I could see myself: I was dangling off the edge of a cliff, held only by an unraveling rope, and I was “this close” to losing my grip.
Now I want you to know that that was not the truth of my situation. But that was how it was looking to me. Grim and more grim.
I called a friend who gently reminded me of John 10:28 (why that was not firmly implanted in my memory banks, I don’t know, but it wasn’t there at the time), where Jesus is talking about his sheep, and says that “no one can snatch them out of my hand.” Well, those words were LIFE to me! My fear that I would give in to the enemy’s whisperings? Totally unnecessary! What mattered here was NOT my ability to hang on to the rope! What mattered here was HIS ability to hold onto me. No matter what! And He is fully able!!!
The enemy of my soul still comes around and whispers his slanderous accusations against me and against the God I love. My enemy knows he can’t snatch me away from the One I love, so instead he tries to steal my peace, my hope, and my joy. And sometimes I still succumb to that. But more and more and more, I want to LIVE this abundant life Christ died for me to live. I want to enjoy the peace and hope and joy that are mine in Him. I want to rejoice in the One who holds me securely in his hand.
Since Beth Moore told me to, here’s my version of Psalm 124.
If the Lord had not been on my side –
Let all God’s people say –
If the One with whom I am in covenant had NOT been on my side
when my enemy came after me
I would have been swallowed alive
by my enemy’s burning anger against me.
Then the waters of doubt swirled around me.
The waves of despair would have washed over me.
The undertow of uncertainty would have sucked me under.
I praise the Keeper of my soul
who has not let my spirit be shredded
by slanderous accusations.
I have escaped the trap that was laid
by the enemy of my soul’s peace, hope and joy.
The net is torn,
and my spirit springs up and soars above it.
My help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Sorry, Dobie, but you’re gonna have to drift away without me, Dude.
I’m anchored to the Rock.