“‘Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,’ says the LORD;
‘I will place him in the safety for which he longs.’”
Reading this verse, a question stirred in my mind: what is the safety the Lord provides? The context of the psalm seems to indicate a decisive action of the Lord, a tangible response to the oppression of the poor and needy. But my mind is drawn to the broader context of our lives, where our stories can take many different paths. Where certain hoped-for outcomes are not guaranteed, and our faith is tested through a trial that might not resolve quickly. As I paused to contemplate how safety from the Lord can be provided and experienced even in these difficult circumstances, a sweet peace came over me, as I hope it does for you in considering the truths we can hold to in all situations.
Our Lord provides us relationship. Upon our belief in the salvation offered through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, where the Son of God took on the guilt of our sin and the wrath of God, we are not only forgiven of our sins; we are also brought into God’s family. Declared His. His beloved, His children, His chosen ones. Here, I am never alone. Not in my greatest happiness, my darkest moments, or when I feel entirely confused. The Lord who made heaven and earth and who breathed His breath into my lungs, He is here, very present with me. There is closeness and connection. There is belonging and acceptance.
In this relationship, He hears me. Whether I have words or groanings or even the silence that can come when I am overwhelmed. He hears. He knows. He draws close in compassionate, powerful response.
He comes to my aid. Psalm 18 paints a picture of intense, immediate response, emphasizing God’s faithfulness and power toward those who are His. Sometimes this aid comes in a changing of our circumstances, whether abruptly or gradually over time. Other times (or combined with that external changing), the Lord’s aid is experienced in His shielding us from the enemy’s lies. Lies that tell us we’re forgotten, that God’s promises don’t apply to us here, that there is no hope or refuge, that we are unworthy. God is our shield and refuge, and He makes Himself known as a fortress (Psalm 48:3). His truths, declared to us in His Word, provide this shielding and safety for us. Safety in knowing who and whose we are. Safety for our soul and spirit as we walk with God on our journey—a journey in which He faithfully establishes our steps in wisdom and steadfast love, hemming us in behind and before (Psalm 139:5), going before us and acting as our rear guard (Isaiah 52:12). This is why His Scriptures are “no empty word for you, but your very life” (Deuteronomy 32:47). “This God—His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 18:30).
We don’t know what that journey holds, what roads we will walk as God works in us His peace and joy and righteousness, as He displays His glory to the world through our story. How a faith more precious than gold will be cultivated as we look to Jesus in all things.
What we can know is that we are safe here, in the palm of His hand. Safe to rest in His love, His compassion, His strength, His wisdom and grace. Safe to simply be us, right where we are. No pretending, no trying to prove ourselves, no pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Resting here in His presence where we are seen, heard, felt, understood, and oh so deeply loved by the One who will never forget and never fail us.
Pour out your heart before Him, for He is a refuge for you (Psalm 62:8). Allow Him to fill in those spaces with the steadfastness of His love and the power of His truth as He walks each step of this road, guiding you, pouring into you, and lifting you up in the strength and peace only He can provide.
“But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.’
Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor power, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:3-9