Sometimes you come across a passage of Scripture that momentarily arrests you, brings a smile to your face, and sends you on your way with renewed faith, hope and encouragement for the journey ahead.
Psalm 18:36 stopped me in my tracks this morning. I read it over and over and decided this will be my guiding verse for 2020.
Here’s the context. In this wonderful Psalm, David extols the virtues of God who has delivered him from the hand of his enemies and from his nemesis, King Saul.
He calls God his rock, his fortress, and deliverer, his shield and stronghold. He paints this startling picture of how “The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.”
David goes on to talk about how the Lord heard his cry, “drew me out of deep waters” and “brought me into a spacious place.”
He speaks directly to God and says, “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning.” (Now there’s an inspiring word picture of God’s sustaining grace!)
And then in mid-psalm, we encounter this marvellous pithy passage:
“You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” (v. 36)
Nobody likes a turned ankle.
When I was a young school principal playing soccer on the playground one noon hour, I aggressively kicked the soccer ball and topped it. My right foot came down forcefully in full flight and the toe of my shoe caught the uneven turf. By late afternoon my foot was so painfully swelled it was almost impossible to keep my shoe on. It took months for the torn ligaments to heal.
David had his share of “turned ankles,” of life’s troubles, of heartaches, and some of them were clearly self-inflicted.
But through his ups and downs, he never gave up his confidence that he would see, “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 26:13)
David’s unwavering faith stance reminds us that God has only good and kind intentions towards his children. Circumstances may turn dark, friends and associates may betray, family members may alienate themselves, and our hearts might even trip us up in moral failure, as David’s did.
But through it all, even when despair has got him by the throat, David holds fast to his core belief that “You are good, and what you do is good!” (Psalm 119:68)
Deep down David never faltered in his faith that God is an intervening God and we can count on him!
As I reflected on David’s “ankle-turning” faith that God would watch over him, I was drawn back to two foundational Bible passages that have kept my faith alive over the years and steeled me when times got tough, whether because of sickness, job loss or family turmoil.
The writer of Proverbs reminds us that God is in the business of guiding our steps as we rely in trust upon him,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
And Paul encourages us that
“…my God will supply all your need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
In the year ahead every Corpath member will undoubtedly experience some rough passages.
We may be in the middle of one right now.
And so, as we launch into 2020, let’s do so with steely faith in God’s goodness, and with optimistic hope that God will “broaden our path and keep our ankles from turning,” because he has promised,
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5)
Blessings for a wonderful new year ahead.