This morning I awoke far too early, a problem I’ve had often lately. The pattern is always the same—I lie in bed, hoping against hope that I can fall back asleep. I’m not like some of you who think, “Oh, I’ll go get started on my day and get a lot accomplished early.” I wish I were that rambunctious to start my day. Not so. Instead, I lie there completely ticked off that I can’t sleep…which then gets me thinking…and thinking…and thinking…and then, this morning, it turned to worry.
This morning I was coming up with all sorts of things to worry about. When will we get R braces? How will we pay for them? How am I going to fix the dryer? Where should G go to college? And on and on…
Thankfully, I made a good decision when I came to the kitchen an hour later to eat breakfast. I opened my Bible.
Often when I don’t know where to turn, I open the Psalms and this time I turned to one of my favorites: Psalm 91. I started to read it out loud, which I highly recommend. Not only are you seeing the Word, but you’re hearing it and so is anyone else in your presence…in this case H, my 13-year-old daughter.
I read the entire Psalm, but one verse jumped off the page like it was on fire.
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
I finished reading the Psalm, took H to school and then came home to ponder this verse.
Why would His faithfulness be a shield? Why not His love? Why not His holiness? And what in the world is a bulwark?
As I thought, I quickly realized that when I meditate on God’s faithfulness, I am reminded of what He’s done in the past. I remember how He’s provided for prior bills, how He’s given me wisdom for previous questions, and how He’s guided me in big decisions our family has made. I remember that He’s never let me down. Even in the hard times, when we’ve messed up, or when things didn’t go as planned, He was still present and comforting. And in the remembering, my faith is strengthened. It will be okay. I’ll make it through because HE IS FAITHFUL.
As the verse states, His faithfulness becomes a shield against my own crazy, messed-up, confused and worrisome thoughts. His faithfulness is a shield against all of my WHAT IF’s. He will be faithful. He can’t help but be faithful. It’s who He is…even when I’m not faithful, He has to be. (2Timothy 2:13)
But His faithfulness is also a shield against the enemy’s attacks. Sometimes, we not only hear our own messed-up thoughts, we hear the lies of Satan. You’ll never be able to afford those braces. You’re going to mess up whatever you touch! If G doesn’t go to the right college, it’s going to be disastrous. When I choose to rely on God’s faithfulness instead of listening to Satan’s lies, then I am shielded. In fact, His faithfulness becomes that bulwark.
A bulwark (or rampart, in some versions) is an earthen wall of defense behind which a soldier hides. Just like that mound provides protection to the soldier, so God’s faithfulness protects me.
But you do realize, don’t you, that the soldier could choose not to be protected? He could choose to stand out in the open and receive all enemy fire, even though the bulwark is right behind him. That’s what we do when we try to defeat the enemy, whether it’s our own crazy thoughts or Satan’s lies, in our own strength. It’s crazy! Why would we choose to try to repel the bullets without protection???
God has not commanded us to be strong in our own might. He’s not commanded us to figure things out ourselves. No, He wants to provide for us, to strengthen us with His might, and He wants to defend us with His faithfulness.
In what area of your life do you need to rely on God’s faithfulness?