There’s a picture that hangs on my wall. It’s simple, it’s plain. It’s not really outstanding in beauty. But the second I saw it in the store, I fell in love with it. It says two simple, but powerful words:
The life of a Christain is not marked by an easy life, where we live in continual comfort and bliss. It’s not marked as a life where everyone around us simply adores us. Walking with God doesn’t mean that all will go well.
The road to the cross is marked with suffering, betrayal, and pain. But the life of a Christian MUST be marked with something else as well.
“Why,” you may ask, “should we joyful? How can you expect me to find joy when the Christain life is so hard at times? When my friends have left me because I don’t do the things they do? When I’m mocked by my coworkers for living out my faith?”
Maybe you’ve even been despised by your very own family, whom you never wronged, yet they turned against you.
Take heart, dear friend, YOU can still choose joy.
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11-12
Have you ever noticed that this verse doesn’t say, “You surround them with favor as with an umbrella on a beautiful beach?”
It doesn’t say, “You surround them with favor, as with a warm fuzzy blanket.”
It says, “You surround them with favor, as with a shield.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t pack a shield along when I’m going on vacation. I don’t bring a shield on a picnic. In fact, I don’t even own a shield. Why?
Because a shield is used for war.
These verses talk about being glad, rejoicing, singing with joy…not when things are easy, but in the midst of war.
Are you crazy?!? Joyful in war? How can one have any joy at all on the battlefield, where death and destruction cover the landscape? Where blood and pain mark the ground?
Now I’ve never been in the army, I’ve never fought in a war. But David, who wrote these verses, was. And not only that, he once fought a battle against a GIANT, with a whole army shaking in fear behind him.
He approached the battlefield alone.
Now I don’t know a lot about war, but what I do know is that there is very little one man alone can do on the battlefield. In fact, there is no chance that one man alone can win a great war.
But David, just a boy, ran up to the battle line and was able to conquer a great enemy, because he knew a great big secret: He was actually not alone.
God was fighting beside him!
We can be glad, rejoice and sing, because by the grace of God, we are not in it alone! He is by our side! He is our shield! He is our refuge! He is our rock! Praise God, for I am not in it alone!
He is right here beside me, acting as my shield!
Oh, dear friend, is your life hard and full of pain? Have you been struck down and wounded? Have you often felt like you’re walking this road alone?
Take comfort and be filled with joy, for you are not alone! God is your shield. Your refuge. Your rock. He will never leave you. In his presence is fullness of joy!(Psalm 16:11)
“…Don’t grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10