Every day I hear new reasons to be concerned…
Either for others and their personal struggles, for the world and the depth of need for God’s complete restoration, or for myself as I see my own need for another taste of God’s peace and guidance. In other words, we have many “tossings.”
Do you feel the same? I’m sure you do. Here is good news…God understands.
Not the generic “I understand” that you might get from your neighbor after you explain your particular financial strains or stresses (when they do not actually share the same burden). Psalm 56 gets deeply personal with how God enters into our concerns and our hurts; not simply understanding them but keeping track of them and giving hope:
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, God is for me. In God, whose word I praise; in the LORD, whose word I praise; in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Two quick things astonish me about God in the midst of our hard things:
First: He cares more than we do…
The Hebrew term for “count” is one that means tally or record. Think of a poor prisoner in the 1700s (random time period) who is scraping a tally on the prison wall for each day that passes. Each bearing a weight and a value for his existence in that place. God is tallying our tossings… our hurts… the drivers of anxiety and pain in our lives. I don’t even do that! I’m sure I have already forgotten some of the hurts I carried the last 3 years due to another’s sin against me or simply caused by situational pains — my memory is not good enough to keep track of my own tossings, and yet God loves me deep enough to keep track of my tossings (and tears)!! “Are they not in Your book?” the Psalmist asks… one day we will see that they are.
God keeps a record of the burdens and is seeing every one of your tears. He hears you. He knows.
Second: God is for us… (better than we could be)
Even the multitude of enemies will turn back when David calls out to the LORD. Why? Because God is not one to be challenged. Ultimately, David has confidence that the Philistines will not have victory: “This I know, God is for me.” One simple phrase carries the weight of true life. A life that we also possess. “God is for me.” The deep relief when big brother comes and the bullies scatter; The powerful assurance a child receives when picked up in the arms of a parent after a fearful ordeal; the strong and safe embrace of a loved one in the midst of heart-wrenching loss. God is for me. That is your phrase, if you have Christ as your own. He is for you. He can care, revive, lead, guide, and provide for you better than you ever could for yourself. Let Him.
“For us” because we are His children:
David praises God’s Word— the assurance coming from being God’s son. We have the same assurance! Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons [and daughters], God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
“For us” because we are His beneficiaries:
David praises the LORD’s (covenant Name) Word—the covenant-making and -keeping Savior who does not forsake His people. We have the same benefits! Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood… drink of it, all of you” (Mt. 26:27-28)
God cares (really and truly!)
… enough to keep a record of the hurts; even bottling your tears. He is with you in the nighttime weepings, the early morning anxieties, the overwhelming realities of the mid-day and everything else in between. He is with you and He is FOR you. That is a reason for hope. I pray you feel the encouragements mentioned above: the safety of your strong advocate, the security of your loving protector, and the comfort of your closest friend.
In that lens we can agree with David—what can man (or life) do to us? Nothing… well, something, but at least nothing that can overpower the protection and love of God for us. For there is nothing that can separate you from that!
Romans 8:38-39—For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.