“Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22
At a particularly challenging season in your life, was there at least one determined friend or family member who stood resolutely by your side, refusing to leave you to weather the elements on your own? Did that brother hoist an enormous barrier above your head to break the onslaught of wind and pelting rain? Was there one faithful companion who guarded you as if her life was crafted for this unique task, who ensured you would make that next step, and the one after that when it came?
Somewhere in that difficult period, were you aware that there was a person cheering you on to the finish line, who lifted you on his shoulders to carry you to the end after you had stumbled awkwardly and lay splattered on the ground? Were you conscious in the tumult, that one soul cared for you and would do anything in her power to help you arrive safely at the destination that seemed far beyond your control?
You would be considered quite fortunate indeed to have been flanked by such a friend, to have been loved so well. And yet throughout that difficult time, did you consider that if a mere mortal was eager to bear your load how much closer stood Christ himself? The one we call Immanuel, God with us, was not just acutely aware of your dilemma, but was fully present with the capacity to strengthen, uphold and overrule.
In him we have a Brother that will never leave our side. In his hands we are safe, sheltered by his might and matchless authority. With Jesus interceding for us, we have a great High Priest imploring Almighty God to come to our aid (Romans 8:34). He is Counselor and Helper, Protector and Guide, Ruler of all things visible and invisible to our naked eye.
He empowers through his Word, enlarging our hearts with courage of the divine kind. For the times we stagger like lost sheep, he is the Good Shepherd, carrying and protecting us from harm. When parched fields lay ahead, he is Living Water drenching through and through. If unjust treatment is our lot, he is the Righteous Judge who has the final say. Malnourished and needy, he is the Bread of Life who satisfies and fills. When love has relocated her heart, he is our Father who loves without conditions attached. Overcome by all our broken places, he is our Savior for those worrisome onslaughts. And when hope has drifted beyond our feeble grasp, he is our Hope eternal and complete.
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18-19).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell