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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 18’

There I was, waiting in my car for the lights to change at a busy intersection, when our daughter suddenly started muttering out loud in the passenger seat beside me.

‘Red light. In right hand turn lane. Right indicator on.’

At first, I thought she was telling me I had missed something. I knew she was learning to drive—she has not really had the opportunity to do so until now. But … was she trying to tell me what I should be doing, when I have been driving for well over forty years?

A moment later, however, she explained what was happening.

‘My great driving instructor has me say everything out loud, so she can check I’ve noticed all the things I need to see and do.’

I was impressed. What an excellent idea, I thought—it would probably reinforce everything for our daughter too, even as she spoke those words out loud.

This little scenario at the traffic lights came back to me the next morning, as I sat reading my bible. I had decided to start delving into the Psalms again, my ‘go to’ place when things get a little hectic in my life. I was up to Psalm 18, but paused when I reached verses 28-33:

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
    with my God I can scale a wall.

As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?

It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.

After a while, I began to read on, but then felt I needed to return to these same verses. It seemed almost a sacrilege to read them only once—they were too strong to be skimmed over in any way. Then it came to me that, like our daughter, I needed to speak the words out loud—not to let any instructor sitting beside me know I had noticed everything I was supposed to notice in these words, but rather to allow them to impact me even more and stay with me longer, on into my day and beyond.

So I did just that. I sat there, looking out at the grey skies beyond my window, and read each line out loud, with as much emphasis as I could muster. And as I listened to myself do this, I began thinking somewhere else in my mind, ‘Yes, this is so true! Our God is so strong and perfect and wonderful! And yes, this is what God has done for me in the past, so many times. God will rescue and strengthen me again, I’m sure of it.’ It then seemed so natural to continue on, praising God out loud and praying for all the people and situations I was concerned about, as well as for myself.

What a powerful experience listening to myself reading God’s Word and praying out loud turned out to be! I think I should plan to do it much more often, don’t you?

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This past weekend, I experienced a reality check. I happened to glance at the calendar on our kitchen wall and noticed it was showing the dates for January. That’s okay, I thought—we’re still in January, aren’t we? But wait! We had Australia Day last weekend—we must be in February!

With a sinking feeling, I reached out and tore off that sheet showing all those January dates, crumpled it up and threw it in the bin. Usually whenever I get rid of the past month’s dates, I pause to reflect on all that has happened during that time—family events, appointments, speaking engagements, writing days. But this time, there was a big blank in my mind about it all. Where had that first month gone? How had I let it slip away like that?

Granted, there have been some extenuating circumstances that need to be taken into account—like a back operation in the middle of the month! Prior to that, I was largely focused on coping with pain and deciding on the best way forward health-wise. And afterwards—well, I’m hanging onto the theory that my brain fuzziness is due to the anaesthetic I had rather than anything else! I’m slowly getting on track again, but realise I have missed out on most of the planning I usually do in January to set up speaking engagements and promotional events. As for my current writing project, I can barely remember what it is about right now! Any wonder I felt a little discouraged, as I tore that first month from our calendar?

I almost laughed out loud, however, when I turned to that well-worn part of my bible, the Psalms, yesterday and discovered I was up to Psalm 18 again. I suspect God has a sense of humour, because there I found the following verses:

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help, I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. (28-29)

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. (33)

You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. (36)

Now I’m clumsy at the best of times. Somehow I don’t think my feet are anything like those nimble deer’s feet. Right now, I’m not advancing anywhere too confidently. And as for scaling walls—forget it! Yet do you think it was any accident I read those verses? Do you think God was mocking me or trying to give me false hope? That doesn’t sound like God to me.

So I’m choosing to hear God’s positive, encouraging messages to me via this psalm. Right now, I’m choosing to accept God’s help as I step into this year, knowing that help will include strength for what lies ahead and the ability to stand and to overcome any obstacles along the way. With God, I know I will even be able to scale those walls that might look impenetrable. And as I live in God’s light and love, I know my own lamp will not go out but shine brightly.

So I’m looking forward to the year ahead—and I hope you are too. Let’s scale those walls together!

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