In peace I will both lie down and sleep;

for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4: 8

 

God’s concept of safety is rather strange or even strangely odd. As a parent, I have often taken action when my children seemed to be heading toward something dangerous. We parents try to anticipate our kids actions and pull their hands back from the hot or the sharp objects, and we hold those same hands when we head out of buildings into the areas where cars or other dangers are present. We warn them about the perils of life and give them instruction about safe navigation through those places and situations as we hope and pray for that safe return at the end of the journey. There is no question in my mind that God functions and operates as a parent to us all; yet, His concept and approach to this activity is different from mine in some very important ways.

 

The Lord is far more concerned with the security of the soul of His children than He is with our flesh remaining intact, unbruised, and our bodies staying unshaken. He cares most deeply about the sorts of harm that our minds takes in and the ways that our hearts are bruised by exposure to the sinful distractions of this world. I am not trying to say that God doesn’t enter into protecting our bodies or that He is not concerned about taking us through our days whole and safely complete, but I do believe that this outcome is not first in His order of priorities. I am also not suggesting that the spiritual health of our children is not of paramount importance to most parents, but we still tend to engage more of the time in their physical protection and in our training of them in how to stay whole and physically safe.

 

Thus, David sings out his praise to the Lord for the way that He alone brings about the true safety that our souls, hearts, and bodies need in order to fully rest. The Lord grants to us a dwelling place within the security of His presence so that we can lie down and get the sleep that we so desperately need. This is a form of slumber that can take place even when we are surrounded by the forces that God’s enemies have called up against Him and us. The rest that God grants to us is a gift that flows out of His presence as we turn toward His face in thanksgiving and prayerful meditation on His Word and in submission to the words of life that He speaks into our racing hearts and that He pours over our aching muscles. We can place our trust in the Lord as He tucks us into the security of His loving care and sings His words of truth to sooth our hearts and calm our minds into a state of peaceful slumber.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

This is not exactly the message that we usually hear in a setting where confession is the action under consideration. At least for me, I try to fill in this line with faith or with Christ, but I don’t automatically go to hope as the idea to fill in the blank. Yet it seems that hope does actually supply these others thoughts along with it. Hope is something that comes to us in and through Christ. At least this is true for me, for I find that most of the hope that I possess is directly related to Christ. It comes about because of His presence in me and in my life. This hope overcomes the awful forces that are at work in the world around me and that seem to be conspiring to crush the life out of everything good in our world. Yet, Christ brings a perpetual spring of renewal and life giving love and grace to these same battered and broken lives and situations.

 

The hope that comes about because of Christ’s redemptive love that is at work in my life and in the lives of many others seems to be made even more tangible and real as I express it openly. It is something much greater than just a good attitude or an optimistic outlook. The hopefulness that God has granted to His people is deep enough to hold on when hardship hits with the force of a flood-driven river, and it is strong enough to outlast season upon season of drought-like sorrow and grief. Christ gives us the ability to understand the hope that comes through our faith in Him as we grow in our knowledge and appreciation of God’s character and nature. For me, this growth happens as I seek out God’s presence and dwell meditatively upon it in on-going and regular times of prayer that are based in and upon God’s Word. As I listen to the Spirit speak to my heart from within His own words of Scripture, I grasp the fact that my Lord has been and continues to be with me in all that comes along in life.

 

In seeking out the presence of the Lord in my life and in the world around me, I am continually reminded and made ever more aware of God’s eternal faithfulness. He is true to His promise to provide the way and the means for people to come into relationship with Him and to be redeemed from the brokenness that sin has surrounded all of creation with. In Christ we are set free to live fully in the open as people who have a future that is filled with purpose and that is bathed in the grace of Christ so that we are able to face into the challenges of life with a confidence that overcomes all doubt and fear. As God is unrelentingly faithful to His word and Christ has come into the world to bring fulfillment to those promises, I am filled with the hope of my salvation, redemption, and purpose as a follower of that same Christ. So, in light of this hope, I can do little else except to live it out steadfastly through the days that God has granted to me in this life.