Ultimate dependence on God
I was zoning in and out as I read my Bible on the train into London last week. It had been a tough couple of months following my dad’s death, caring for mum, helping plan my brother’s wedding and supporting Rosemary in keeping Alexander going. As many of you know, sorting out someone’s affairs, a funeral and holding down a job is both draining and time consuming. We have been mightily upheld and seen God’s fingerprints all over our circumstances but finally, I got worn down and ill. It was this, along with my natural sinful and wandering mind that was behind my zoning in and out reading the Scriptures last week.
And then it hit me - I was reading Psalm 3 and was struck by verse 5: ‘I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.’ I thought deeply about the implications of Psalm 3:5; namely the only reason we wake up each morning is because of the grace of God. I guess I’ve read Psalm 3:5 many times, but perhaps it’s my current circumstances that made me more sensitive to this verse, as it speaks of an ultimate dependence that is easy to take for granted.
In the last couple of months, I’ve had to depend on God for my travel to and from hospitals; to take care of Rosemary and Alexander, and for supportive work colleagues. This verse took me to a deeper level still: forget travelling mercies and supportive work colleagues – what about the very fact that I only wake up in the morning by God’s grace? It is he who keeps my heart beating and lungs breathing. In that moment on the train, there was something very humbling about that fresh realisation, so much so that it stopped me in my tracks. It was as if God was using Psalm 3:5 to say “If it’s only by me that you wake in the morning and your heart keeps beating, won’t you depend on me for other things, like sustaining at work, being a carer and dealing with my grieving, unbelieving family?” Psalm 3:5, like the other Scriptures, doesn’t promise an easy life, but we are told that God sustains us.
The flip side of this verse is that my dad did not wake up – he wasn’t sustained. Psalm 3:5 got me thinking about that as well, because we are pretty sure that my dad was a believer. I shuddered at the awesomeness of God who decides to sustain or not according to his perfect will. I sat and thought about this for the rest of my commute. Although losing dad has been difficult on many levels, I think I can begin to grasp that this is all in God’s hands, and that is reassuringly comforting. Please pray that your unbelieving friends and family – and mine – will come to realise that they only wake each morning because the Lord sustains them.