During a particularly challenging part of my life my mantra was, even when I win, I lose. It seemed I always came out on the short end of the stick.
Ever feel that way? It’s an easy perspective to adopt—life is a drag and then you die. It feels like verse 6 of Psalm 28 isn’t true: “Blessed be the Lord! For He has heard my cry for mercy.”* For if God has heard me, why do I struggle so much?
Verse 7 holds four keys to overcoming the mantra:
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. Psalm 28:7*
The first key: The Lord is my strength and shield.
My life reflects God’s faithfulness. Faithfulness doesn’t mean smoothness. It means He was with me—even in the darkest times. There’s a poem called Footprints** where a person has a dream. In the dream he is walking with Jesus on the beach. But during the toughest times of his life, he sees one set of footprints. He asks, Jesus why weren’t you there when I needed you most? Jesus’ said, The one set of prints is when I carried you.
Jesus carried us even during the events leading to our parents’ divorce, when our relationships collapsed, when we reaped the consequence of our actions or the actions of others, and when disappointment ruled the day.
The second key: I trust Him with all my heart
This is difficult if we don’t accept the first key. It’s tough trusting someone you feel failed you. Also, since adults with divorced parents struggle to trust people they can see, trusting an invisible God can seem impossible.
The proof of God’s amazing love [trustworthiness] is this, that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, Phillips). If God loved us enough to sacrifice Jesus for us—knowing we’d mess up (sin), we can trust Him for everything else.
If you struggle here, make a list of ways God has provided for you, had your back, and protected you through the years.
You’ll be amazed at the number of God-incidences you’ve experienced. Pray for God to bring the incidences to your memory. He’s more than willing.
The third key: God helps me
For years when I thought about the weeks following my parents’ divorce I saw nothing but loneliness and pain. I seemed to be floating from day to day in a cloud of loss and rejection. Now, I see ways God helped me:
He kept me in contact with my father
He blessed me with a mother who was willing to do what it took to keep a roof over our heads.
He kept me in school.
He gave me outlets for my frustration—bike riding, music, tennis.
He connected me to a teacher who became a lifelong friend
He brought key people into my life that served as guardrails for guiding me in the right direction.
And much more.
Your list will be different, but you DO have a list! God has been with you.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
The fourth key: My heart is filled with joy
If you’ve followed my blogs and podcasts, you know I struggle in this area. I love my Lord. God has proved Himself totally trustworthy in my life. Even when I doubted, hindsight showed otherwise. Numerous times God has helped me—many times when I’d dug my own pit and didn’t deserve it. Yet….joy often alludes me.
The good news is that joy will come. And yours will too! Work your way through these keys. Study the joy scriptures. Give God your concerns, doubts, pain, and anything else that is standing between you, Him, and joy.
Cast all your anxiety on God, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
*New Living Translation
**Footprints by Margaret Fishback Powers
Swallowed In The Sea by Kelly B
Woman and Bible - Prayer a Powerful Weapon by abcdz2000