You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.
~ Psalm 119:114, NKJV ~
Life got more difficult mid-December, and continues today, but God has been and “is a refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble,” as Psalm 46:1 says. He is continually proving that He is with us, that He is our refuge and shield, and our hope.
Before Christmas, I bought a small gift for my husband. I saw the keyring with the word, “HOPE” on it and was drawn to it. On the reverse side it read, “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:114.”
While going over the receipt, I saw that I had been charged the wrong price; I put it and the keyring somewhere to return it, but I lost it. I found it after Christmas and returned it to the store. Believe it or not, I promptly forgot where I left it—again. But the Lord is so good and understanding, He knows the right time for gifts to be given. I found it again on Wednesday, January 9th, placed it in my Bible study bag, and forgot about it. (Yes, I know, third time!)
Friday night (January 11th) Noah and I went to our local Christian bookstore. It was here that the Lord chose to strengthen and encourage my heart, and remind me of Don’s gift.
God encouraged my heart.
I’ve heard people say, “God works in mysterious ways.” Well, I don’t know about that, but I can attest to the fact that He does work!
A friend works at the store. She and I got to talking (while she was checking me out) and we discovered that things are going on in our families that need to prayer. When she was putting my items into a bag, she gave me one of their giveaways—a bracelet. Then she handed another one to me, “This one is for Noah.” I looked at them and almost burst into tears. They both had the same word on it, the one word I was not expecting—HOPE.
It was not a coincidence that our bracelets had the same word as Don’s keyring!
Before we left, my friend and I prayed for each other. Right there by the entrance, in the store, in front of the window with people passing by on the outside, and other customers shopping in the store, we spoke our hearts to our Lord and Savior and were encouraged.
Once home, I gave Don his Christmas gift and Noah the bracelet. I told them the story of the keyring and added that of the bracelets. These were symbols of His presence, love, and exhortation to hope.
As hard as it’s been for us, God’s presence and gifts, both tangible and intangible, are comforting and strengthening us. Several verses keep coming up, over and over again:
Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJV)
Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the Lord, “’plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (NIV)
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘Therefore I hope in Him!'”
“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.” (NKJV)
“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (NIV)
Do you have setbacks or adversity in your life right now? Hope in the living God. He knows what you’re going through and wants to help you through it. He hears your prayers and knows your struggles. He won’t forsake you; He’s walking beside you—you’re not alone.
Choose to worship Him, daily, to keep you from looking at your situation and spiraling into worry and despair. He hears every thought and sees every tear drop; He knows what you need.
Abba, Father, You always hold us close, but closer still when we have difficulties. You know our frailties. You comfort, encourage, strengthen, and sustain us. You love and meet us wherever we are. Your presence makes fear and anxiety flee. We get perspective and peace because “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, NKJV).
You fight for us because the enemy of our souls is actively trying to keep us from You, Your peace, and all that You have for us. You protect us and set an angel around us to fight for, protect, and strengthen us.
Abba, keep us from growing weary and losing heart. Your presence comforts, fortifies, and gives us hope. You’re like water to a thirsty man and food to one who is fainting—You nourish and keep us going. We usually “do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12, NKJV).
Thank You, Abba, for loving and caring for us, for being present with us, and giving us hope. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.