5/19/2012

I pray that the Lord will listen when you are in trouble, and that the God of Jacob will keep you safe. Psalm 20:1 (CEV)

There are times in our lives when we feel completely alone and overwhelmed with the battle before us. The uncertainty of the future and the rugged trail of the present seem to keep us from making any headway at all on the journey.

Sometimes, in the midst of the turmoil, there are no easy answers. Sometimes when life seems at its lowest, there are no clearly defined routes to victory; no words of comfort. During those times it’s nice just to have someone to listen to us. We don’t need solutions (although they’d be nice). We don’t need sympathy or advice. We’d just like to know we are heard. We’d just like to be assured that our thoughts, the deep feelings of the heart are being listened to without judgment.

Other times, listening isn’t enough. We need a defender. We need someone who will come to our aid and fight the battle for us. Our strength is gone, our will to continue is waning, and our hope of victory is dim.

It’s as though the battles we fight are two-fold. One the one hand attacks come from within, from the depths of our very soul. Doubts about our faith seep like cancer into the very sinew of our being. Questions of our worth and value linger in the corners of our minds. Accusations and our past haunt us.

On the other hand, we are in danger physically. Financial woes keep us trapped. Family and relational stress weaken out resolve to even try to reconcile. Health and old age remind us that some of our dreams are no longer accessible.

It’s during these times that the God of Jacob comes to our aid. Jacob, the man who wrestled with God and refused to give up until he was blessed. His blessing carried with it a limp for the rest of his life. A reminder that his battle was huge, but he won. A reminder that his God was a God you could get down and wrestle with over the issues of life.

Jacob, the man who approached a brother that tried to kill him. Jacob was vastly outnumbered. Esau was powerful and heavily armed. Jacobs’s strength that day wasn’t his own; it was the strength of his God.

The Psalmist reminds us in his prayer that we have a God that will listen to our deepest longings and struggles. We are loved passionately by a God who honors those of us who would dare ‘wrestle with him’ into the dark hours of the night. We are protected by a God who put his very life on a cross to guarantee our eternal protection.

Today, whatever trial you face, may you know that the God of Jacob is with you to listen, to protect and most of all to forgive.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you today that you listen to me in my hour of need. I praise you for the protection you offer in my time of physical and emotional danger. Help me to be ever aware of your presence today as I travel this journey. Amen.

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