An Invasion of Peace

Below are some thoughts I put together some time back. They may mean nothing to anyone but me, but my prayer is that they would encourage someone else.

"Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul."

Psalm 94:17-19

Sleepless nights. Anxiety. Perplexity. Loneliness.

Every person at some point experiences (or will experience) feelings of utter helplessness and isolation. There is that despair-inducing thought that no one can help, or worse yet, no one can even understand. In the midst of dark difficulties, we are overwhelmed by feeling as if our feet are slipping out from under us. The "multitude of my thoughts" is like an unending fountain with no shut-off valve. It's the treadmill going so fast that you cannot get off of it.

It is here that the anonymous Psalmist of our passage finds himself, a fact that itself brings comfort: though we feel very alone at times, others have walked the same slippery path and fallen down under the same weights under which we fall down. The inspired words in these verses instruct us on how to respond.

First, when we feel helpless it is because we are. God allows things into our lives that are too big for us to show us just that. At first, such an action by our supposedly all-good and all-loving heavenly Father seems cruel. His desire is not to crush us, but cause us to realize that "unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence." We indeed are helpless--apart from God. The trials of life are what brings this truth to light.

Like a stagnant pond becomes a fiery sky when it reflects a sunset, so our helplessness is the mirror to reflect the beauty of God's Sufficiency. Something apparently ugly becomes something beautiful. Our helplessness exalts His sufficiency. Our weakness gives occasion for His strength. When you find yourself feeling helplessly alone, rejoice, for God is preparing to show Himself the All-sufficient help. To come to the end of yourself is indeed among the most paradoxically joyful experiences for the Christian. For in clinging to God alone, you Him to be a Treasure far surpassing any earthly comfort; you drink from a Fountain sweeter than any broken cistern, and you recline in the arms of a Comforter far gentler and more loving than any human acquaintance. You have stopped tenaciously clinging to the crutch of human frailty to be taken in the arms of Omnipotence. The greatness of our trials is no match for the greatness of our God.

Second, when your foot slips, reach out your hand. God's mercy will be there to catch you (verse 18).

More often than not, we find ourselves walking poorly-lit paths along treacherous terrain because of our own foolish choices. I remember when I was in Papua New Guinea walking along a slippery log bridge over a raging river in the pouring rain at night all because I failed to start my hike earlier in the day (that's quite another story...).

Likewise, in the Christian life, our foot often finds slippery ground because we stray from God's path for us or fail to use the flashlight of Scripture to guide us. Does God then abandon us to fall down never to arise again? No! His mercy reaches out, even when we fully deserve the bruises of a hard fall. Like a loving father, He reaches out His strong hands to catch us. It is but ours to reach out and take.

Too often, we spurn His offer of mercy and let ourselves fall and stay down. Put plainly, we will make a poor choice and find ourselves falling spiritually into some old sin habit. Rather than quickly accepting His mercy and repenting, we wallow in the guilt and shame of sin. We feel that we must somehow suffer the consequences of our fall before we can be worthy to accept His grace. But such an attitude is an insult to His mercy. When you find yourself falling (whether into despondency or rebellion), grab hold of His hand. Cry out to Him. His mercy is there for the taking if we will but confess and repent.

Finally, the Psalmist offers us the antidote to anxiety. And it is not what we would expect. He offers neither counseling or some five-step formula, but rather, He offers what the previous verses have offered: God Himself. In the torrent of unstoppable thoughts, the Psalmist declares that God's "comforts delight my soul." In the midst of relentless battle there comes an invasion of peace. On the sea of trouble comes a flood of joy. What God offers is not a mere coping mechanism but comfort resulting in delight. That's what the Psalmist says! In the midst of anxiety comes delight.

Any Christian who has walked with Christ for any length of time can relate to this experience. But to some, this whole thing appears to be fanciful idealism or poetic hogwash. But to those who have tasted and seen, this banquet is indeed sweet. The peace is real. The joy inexplicable.

The question probably lurking in your mind right now is probably this: How do I appropriate this for myself? My recommendation is this: get outside into the cathedral of creation with an open Bible. Pour out your heart to God. Tell Him all that is on your heart. Cry out to Him like a child to daddy. Then take hold of Him and say with Asaph, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."


  1. Thank you very much.

  2. Glory to God. All true and beautiful. His banquet indeed is sweet. To our spirit, soul, and body. Very blessed to find your blog again.

  3. Really applicable n encouraging/thanks for sharing:)


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