Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The LORD is my Portion

"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."
(Psalm 73:26, NIV)

I was awaken this morning by the sound of conversation in the kitchen. I stumbled out of bed and made it to the kitchen table to take my medicine and eat breakfast and overheard my parents talking about a very interesting topic. There is much controversy over issues relating to the economy and some of the things being proposed to help out some of the "down-on-luck" banks to get them back up may have some devastating effects on Americans who owe money to the bank. I did not understand too much, as it was early in the morning and I was not directly trying to join the conversation anyways, but if certain things happen if this bill gets approved people could lose their houses or a lot of what they worked for. It is devastating to think about this and how little security we actually have in a lot of things that seem very stable.

It is not just in the economy that we feel this. (If you aren't feeling it, you will be abruptly awakened by life one day in the not so far future.) Devastation in marriages, children engaging in destruction behaviors, war, disease, famine, genocide: life in this world hits hard sometimes.

And it is not just something "out there" far removed. I myself have felt the devastating grip of unexplained mental health issues and have godly relationships unexpectedly turn in horrifying ways. My life was nearly shipwrecked from all of this and have now maybe in the last year and a half began to recover and gain grounding again.

But back to this morning. I got into the shower with a lot of muffled thoughts and got out and went back to bed for a few minutes as I usually do and woke up and got ready for school. The past two days have been a little shaky as I have not been feeling well which almost always puts me in a melancholic mood.

I was driving to school and began to think about the state of the economy and the state of the world and just how crazy things can become. I started thinking back to all of the moments I have had that the level of my sanity was questionable. I remember a serious of months where I would on and off just up and leave and the next thing I really realized I was in another part of town, state, or country. I cannot fully say that during these times I knew what I was doing and was trying to get away from things or that it was kind of beyond my control as I was not fully all "there". It was a very scary and tumultuous time for me and for my friends and family and how easy it would have been to lose hope going through something like this. In thinking about all of this, it kind of hit me how fragile I am and how fragile this world is.

But I remember what the LORD has done in the past and how faithful He has been.

I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.

I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.

You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.

I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;

I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:

"Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?

Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?

Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"

Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High."

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?

You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.

With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.

The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.

Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.

Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.

You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
(Psalm 77, NIV)

I look not only to the past to see what God has done, but I also look to the character and nature of God and His ability to perform His word and His purposes. In 2 Timothy, Paul is writing to Timothy, a younger Christian leader in the Church who is a very timid person. Considering the circumstances surrounding all of that, it is easy to see why Timothy would be timid. There was immense persecution going on in the Church, Timothy being from a mixed background having one parent Jewish by birth and the other Greek created much conflict for him, and his close friend Paul was talking more and more about the certainty of his death coming soon which would leave Timothy and the Church very uncertain about its future. With Timothy already being timid, it just aided his anxiety with Paul being held as a prisoner under house arrest. The words Paul gives Timothy are amazing.

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;

if we endure,
we will also reign with him.

If we disown him,
he will also disown us;

if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself."
(2 Timothy 2:8-13, NIV)

Paul is essentially saying that although things may look bad and that He is chained and being prevented from being more free to spread the Gospel, God's Word is not held captive by any man. It fulfills every purpose for which it is sent. Paul goes on to say that if we died with Christ, we will live with Him in heaven if our faith endures to the end. He also says that if we deny that Jesus is God then God will have nothing to do with us. But in spite of what we, God's will and purpose will be accomplished. It depends not on us to do it. God cannot go against what He has purposed to do; He must succeed because if He didn't then He wouldn't be God.

God always accomplishes His purposes, but He is also compassionate towards us in what He brings to pass. Last night I was talking with some people in a small group about the patience of God in dealing with evil. He may have sent Noah's generation a flood that wiped out the human race leaving Noah's family to go through the loss of all that they knew and watch the water rise as the people they lived near died gruesome deaths outside in the water pounding on the boat to get in, but He had compassion on Noah so that He could continue His purpose of preserving man until Christ could come. Genesis called Noah a righteous man and paints a good picture of him and then a couple of chapters later after that same man was on the land that had been cleansed naked and drunk engaging in some kind of immoral act with his son. God saved Noah knowing what he would do. It was no surprise. It is such a strange thing that God would tolerate or decree that something He hates will come to pass.

I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.

So I say, "My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the LORD."

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,

for the LORD has laid it on him.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

To crush underfoot
all prisoners in the land,

to deny a man his rights
before the Most High,

to deprive a man of justice—
would not the Lord see such things?

Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?
(Lamentations 3:13-38, NIV)

Everything that befalls the children of God has the purpose of getting us to a place where we value Christ as the most precious thing; to have knowing Christ as something that we will be willing to consider all things a loss compared to knowing Him more and more. The purpose of the universe is that we will know who Christ is more fully so that in knowing Him in all that He is, we will know more fully how much we are loved by God.

In Psalm 73, the writer talks about how much anguish He had in looking at His life and what all was happening to him at that time. He cried out to God and God showed him the bigger picture of what will happen to all of the evil things that befall us. He saw the big picture and how great God is in all His doings and was able to forsake his doubts and fears to God and trust in Him. Knowing how great God is compared to anything else and how weak we are as people but how able God is to accomplish His purposes, He says:

"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."
(Psalm 73:25,26 NIV
So when we step back into the world we live in today with all of the crazy things going on, when we see God more clearly as we get to know Him, we are able to say:

"My family, the economy, my health, or anything else that can happen may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."


  1. Amen!! I just googled "though my flesh might fail the Lord is my portion forever" b/c I was writing an e mail to a friend and it came on my heart but couldnt remember exact words or reference...and your blog came up in my search! ( and the reference thanks:) ) I was so blessed by reading your blog! Amen! Our God is faithful through all generations and his Love endures forever! Bless you!

  2. Ha,

    This is Carlee's friend and I it's really encouraging to read your words! This week the Lord gave me the verse you mentioned, 'the Word of the Lord is not chained'...and laid on my heart how He is longing to pullthe church, his bride close to Himself and wash her in His word. So powerful. blessings