Do you have memories of someone asking you a hard question, and you not knowing how to answer?
Maybe you’ve never done that, but I have more memories of doing that then I care to admit.
One of those moments happened in an adult Sunday school class. That particular class was made up only of women, which I don’t remember teaching except for that day. The details are fuzzy, but the moment of acquisition and who fired the question is not.
We were studying a Psalm that spoke of God’s protection.
Our church had just learned of a heartbreaking betrayal in the marriage of one of our leaders. Our pastor’s wife participated in the class that day. As we discussed this promise she said angrily, “Why did God not save [Joan] from this heartache? The Bible promises safety!” [Names have been changed.]
Words escaped my brain and my mouth. I was intimidated to teach the preacher’s wife in the first place, and now as she questioned me, but really questioned God, all I could say was, “I don’t know.”
Nearly a decade has passed and a lot of life has happened. Hard life as well as good. It’s very evident that God does not shield us from all harm and trouble. We also know that Jesus told us we would have trouble. So, how do we hold onto Psalm 91:14 and 15 when we aren’t always “rescued” from our trouble?
When something doesn’t sit right in your spirit when reading a text of Scripture, study! That is an invitation to search under our English translation.
Roll up your sleeves, here we go. I’ve placed the extra definitions of the Hebrew counterparts in parenthesis. This translation is from The Jewish Study Bible:
Because he is devoted to Me, I will deliver him;
I will keep him safe (sagab: inaccessible, be set on a high place),
for he knows My name (shem: an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality. . . character , through the idea of definite and conspicuous position).
When he calls on (qara: through the idea of accosting a person) Me,
I will answer him; I will be with him in distress;
I will rescue (chalats: equip, deliver, strengthen, arm for a fight) him and make him honored.”
This kind, merciful, forgiving, holy God promises that he will act upon our prayers. And he will . . . not deliver but . . . .
And arm us for the fight.
So, according to Psalm 91:14 and 15, the secret to survive and get through hard times is to:
- Stay devoted to him.
- Know God. Get to know him through his Word and list out all of his character attributes.
- Cry out to him.
- And pray for him to equip you for the fight.
His “deliverance” is better than saving the damsel in distress because his “deliverance” involves giving us spiritual muscles, tenacity, and grit to fight.
Finding Purpose as I’m Equipped,