In difficult times, we need to hear the comforting and strengthening words of God.
God’s promises give hope in even the most challenging situations. Let me remind you of some of the most encouraging words God has given his people through the centuries.
The pilgrims who walked toward Jerusalem sang the words of Psalm 121, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. . . The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121: 1-4, 7-8).
God never stops seeing us and he guards us all at times.
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God’s sight of us includes also knowing what we need. Jesus tells us that in Matthew 6 when he reminds us that the birds of the air are fed by God and the flowers are clothed more beautifully than the greatest king.
“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32).
Like the very best parent, God knows our needs and gives the very things over which we worry.
Since God knows our needs, we can bring our worries to him and see them changed through the steps of prayer, thanks and finally peace. Paul gives us those steps in Philippians 4: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
We can begin our prayers by telling God our worries and then moving to our requests, remembering our reasons for thanks, and ending with his peace guarding over our hearts and minds.
That powerful peace reminds us that we are held by God whatever enemies we face. Paul reminds us of this when he asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword…For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31, 35, 38-39).
God’s hand holds within his forgiveness and his protection. With him, we have the promise which David wrote in Psalm 27: “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14).
Whatever you are experiencing during this time of shelter-in-place, I hope that these and the many other promises of God provide comfort and strength to you.
If you have a favorite verse you’ve been clinging to in your own faith practice and would like to share it with the rest of the Concordia family, you can do so by emailing us here.
This post was written by Rev. Dr. Dan Paavola, professor and department chair of theology.