“Sustain me according to Your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.” -Psalm 119:116
The psalmist knows he cannot fight his enemies alone, nor can he pursue God without the Lord sustaining him. Here are two very different outcomes- with God at the helm, his faith is preserved. Without God’s grace and mercy, all hopes are dashed to the rocks, like a ship without a captain to guide through safe passages amid a sea of turmoil. The writer is asking for God’s grace to persevere when life gets hard. This is why he cries out for the Lord to remember His promises toward him. This kind of prayer also serves to help the one in need recall God’s promises to them. Because the Lord never forgets His promises, the outcome of this plea is for the Christian to anchor their trials in what we know to be true of God.
Jesus promised a life abundant for believers. What is life abundant for the Christian? We still have sorrows and trials on earth, some of them quite significant. What distinguishes a full life for the believer? What truly sustains us when we grow weary in life? First it is helpful to remember Who dwells in us and with us. Christ Immanuel makes His home in the heart of every Christian. God promises to never forsake His own. His Spirit guides, teaches, convicts, and encourages us. We are the rich ones no matter what our bank account says. The peace of sins forgiven once and for all, the joy of being deeply loved, and the compassion demonstrated by God toward helpless sinners is experiencing life abundant. The best part is the gifts in Christ will last forever. If you are in Christ then God is pleased with you because He has said how He is well pleased with His own Son (Matthew 3:16-17). You are beloved because Jesus is beloved by the Father. Jesus exchanged our filthy garments for His robe of righteousness. Now when God looks at you, He sees His own Son. What grace!
The next time your past sins accuse you as one condemned, when you feel unloved, without purpose, or your burdens seem too heavy, pray this verse back to the Lord. Ask Him to help you remember His promises toward you. God never forgets, but how much more does it please Him when we speak back His own will and thoughts toward us. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus encourages His followers to pray to the Father. For He truly hears, cares, and receives our pleas, confessions, adorations, and thanksgivings as a sweet aroma before His Throne. Pray for God to sustain you and He is sure to do it. Your spirit was never more protected and cared for in the Strong Arms of the Everlasting Father.
Grace upon grace,
Growing deeper: Matthew 6:9-13; 7:7-11; John 17; Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Revelation 5:6-8