Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

 

The LORD will work out his plans for my life–
     for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
     Don’t abandon me, for you made me

When life goes in directions we didn’t expect, and when those
directions include suffering and frustration, we can easily become
discouraged. We wonder if God has forgotten us. We worry that our lives
will sputter out like a car that has run out of gas. We fear we’ll end,
“not with a bang, but a whimper,” to quote T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow
Men.”

In
Psalm 138, David begins by thanking the Lord for his “unfailing love
and faithfulness” (138:2). God answered his prayers, even on the very
day David offered them (138:3). Even though God is inestimably great,
“he cares for the humble” (138:6).

But, as David first composed
Psalm 138, he was “surrounded by troubles” and endangered by “the anger
of [his] enemies” (138:7). In faith, David said, “The LORD will work
out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O LORD, endures
forever” (138:8). David had confidence in God’s ultimate purpose for
him, which God would fulfill. Thus David did not have to be afraid or
discouraged. God would take care of him!

Yet Psalm 138 does not
end with a firm confession of trust in God’s care. Rather, it concludes
with a focused request: “Don’t abandon me, for you made me” (138:8).
It’s as if David trust in God wavered for a moment. “Lord,” he prayed,
“you will fulfill your purpose for me. Yes, indeed. Oh, but don’t
forget me! Don’t abandon me!”

Thus Psalm 138 exemplifies the
reality of our life in God. It is true that God will work out his plans
for us. As Paul writes to the Philippians, “And I am certain that God,
who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is
finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Phil 1:6). In
this truth we stake our lives. Yet there are times when we aren’t so
sure. We wonder. We worry. We doubt. Psalm 138 encourages not to hold
back in those times, but to lay before the Lord both our confidence in
him and our hesitations. He will take all of these are work them
together for his purposes.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have
you been surrounded by troubles? What did you do? How did you pray?
What helps you to trust that God will work out his plans for your life?
When do you find it hard to trust? How free are you to share with God
your deepest fears and doubts, as well as your glad confidence in him?

PRAYER: O Lord, how I relate to
David’s prayer in Psalm 138. Yes, you have been amazingly good to me.
Yes, you have answered my prayers, again and again. Yes, you have
proven your care for me over and over.

Thus, when I am
surrounded by troubles, I have confidence in you. I know that you will
work out your plans for my life. Hallelujah!

And, yet, I can be
unsure. I can lose my grip on confidence. Worry and doubt can invade my
heart. In times like these I cry out even as David did, “Don’t abandon
me, for you made me.”

O Lord, may I grow in my trust in you.
May I know more deeply that you will work out your plans for my life.
May I stop worrying and live each day with greater and more joyful
confidence in you.

I pray today for those who are surrounded,
and who feel as if you have abandoned them. Make your presence known to
them. Reassure them by your grace. Let them know that you are, indeed,
working out your plans for their lives.

All praise be to you, O Lord, because your faithful love endures forever . . . even for me! Amen.

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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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