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Devotion: Psalm 121

This past weekend was one of those times when I really had to rely on God’s strength. For the first time ever, Ryan left for four days out of state and I had all three children by myself. I love my children and we have so much fun together, but because of their ages, my responsibilities over the weekend, Emmaline’s first sleepover and one of our three being sick, I had some anxiety around what those 4 days would bring. You see, my sweet husband is my Teammate and we are partners in all things so having him gone was tough. Ryan shares the load in so many ways at home with the cooking, cleaning and kids, so I was worried about being loving, patient and present without him there.

But here is where I saw God in the midst of it. When I named my fear about my doing this alone and gave myself grace, I ended up feeling loved and blessed by my kids in ways I didn’t expect. For instance, I could feel God in the hugs from my son, or in the help I observed from my oldest or in the laughter of the baby. I felt strengthened when I got a text from a friend that was checking on me or a call from my parents to see if I needed anything. It doesn’t matter how many times it happens, I still need reminding; when I am weak, God is strong. When I let go and let God, I am amazed that I am not alone. When I am honest about my shortcomings and fears, my children meet me with confidence and grace. And I don’t know why it hasn’t sunk in yet, but I keep needing a refresher course on this.

I choose this Psalm for us to pray over this week because I found agreement in these words. The Psalmist starts right off by debunking a common lie. In those days, when these words were first penned, sacrifices and priests and fertility gods happened at the tops of mountains, so a believer in these pagan practices were told just to fix their eyes to the highest place to be strengthened. And as we look at our culture today, the “pagan” practices of our day tell us the lie that we need other’s approval to be content, that we have to have our act together to be loved, that we are judged based on our appearance, wealth, education or orientation…but all of those pressures are lies and those lies run counter to the truth of the Gospel.

As you read this Psalm, my hope for each of us is that we can not only profess with our lips but know deep in our bellies that our strength comes from God. And that God won’t let us stumble. Not only that, but that nothing is too small, silly or trivial for God to pay attention to. At first I thought it was silly to be so worried about solo-parenting this weekend and how I should just stop whining and just be thankful that I have children to care for. But God cares about each of our fears, doubts and insecurities because our God never lets us walk alone. I hope this Psalm will encourage you this week and I invite you to share one place in your lives where you are afraid and where you need strength.

121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4 He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

5-6 God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moon stroke.

7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.

Psalm 121 The Message