“For the Lord God is a sun and shield…”
Psalm 84:11 (NIV)
Tomorrow is the end of 2022 and for many of us, this year was marked with many life changes.
On the whole are you able to see God’s hand through it all?
In many counseling conversations when discussing some hardship or transition, I invariably ask – where is God in those circumstances?
When troubles assail us and darkness looms; when heartache besets us, and difficulties and hardships of this life are all around us, it can feel not only isolating and lonely, but it can sometimes even seem as if God himself has altogether left us.
Maybe this was you at various times:
“O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.”
(Psalm 22:2 ESV)
Silence & Unrest
In what ways has God seemed silent to you this year?
Perhaps you’ve had a prayer or two that leaves you feeling as if God does not answer and so at night you’re left with some angst in your heart and soul.
The angst can be most bothersome at night and it can disturb our sleep, our relationships and it can disturb our heart in such a way where we fundamentally lack the rest we desperately need.
But what is the rest we need?
The rest we need is the voice of God, and for us, the voice of God is most clearly heard in the word of the truth, the gospel. (Cf. Col 1:5 ESV)
- In what ways does God’s Word provide your heart rest?
- How does the gospel give rest for your soul?
Trust in God
The psalmist elsewhere, on many occasions, resolves to speak to himself things we all need to remember when we find ourselves ‘crying by day‘; when God seems silent and rest for our heart is not easily near.
“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God””
(Psalm 31:14 ESV)
Do you ever wonder why or how the simple phrase, you are My God ministered so deeply to David?
In our affliction we do well to remember ‘you are my God’ because as personal as our affliction is to us, so is the God who created us, and who created the heavens and the earth.
This God who spoke everything into existence is your God.
You don’t just have suffering, hardship, affliction or difficulty…you have God.
God is trustworthy, and the reason he is trustworthy is because of the truth of the gospel.
Has 2022 revealed the vast extent of your need for God?
Where have you needed God to engage your heart this year, and where do you want him to engage your heart in 2023?
Are you struggling with contentment?
Christ in Us
The fullest manifestation of His promise to meet you in your affliction and in your need is found in His Son, who by Spirit, lives within you.
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba father!” “
(Gal 4:6 NKJV)
When the Spirit is at work in us, we not only cry out as the Psalmist, but at the center of that cry is an appeal to God who is our God – who is our Abba Father.
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.“
[Col 1:27 NIV]
The Sun Rises
The reason why sun rises is because Christ is in us and so he himself becomes our hope, the hope of glory. Quite simply, the hope of glory is that of our being like him in the resurrection. Therefore, no degree of suffering or hardship can ever truly threaten us, which is why we can be so bold so as to pray the refrain of Psalm 31:14: I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God”.
Will you look to Jesus as one who is for you, who loves you, who delights to live in you, and who is your hope?
My prayer for you as you enter into 2023 is that you can say in your heart and utter with your lips: ‘I trust you Lord, you are my God’.
I pray that whatever you may be dealing with as 2023 turns the corners, but especially if God seems silent, your heart lacks rest, that you will realize the hope of glory bound up in Christ being in you, and so as you enter 2023, the sun rises brighter over your heart.
For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good [thing] will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
[Psa 84:11 NKJV]