From Psalm 60: 10-12 (King James Version):
10Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?
11Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
I love the Psalms. It is my favourite book in the Bible, and the reason why I like it is because David, who was the main author of its verses, wrote like a real man. What I mean by this is that David comes across as a human being just like everyone else – or at least most everyone else. He is not ultra holy; he has made some bad mistakes; he has angered his God; he gets into trouble and needs help getting out of it like most of us. David is real.
I love those verses quoted above. It reminds me of myself. Like David, I have felt estranged from God – that He does not care for me. Like David, I have asked God, ‘Why?’ Like David, I have pleaded with God for help. I know I can only do so much, but it is God I need to help me move forward – I cannot do it on my own. And, like David, I have acknowledged that only through Him will I succeed in my endeavours.
So what has got me writing about Psalm 60?
Firstly, our elderly parents might not be in the best of health, but they are still alive and generally doing quite well, despite suffering from Alzheimer’s in my mother’s case. Having a close-knit family unit where each person cares deeply for the other is in itself a great blessing. So God has not answered my prayer for Mum’s healing, but He has given her familial support, an excellent GP, and decent social care options.
Secondly, when I pray and my prayers seem to fall on deaf ears, I rail at God in the same way that David did. God already knows what we think before we say it, so it really does not matter if we actually speak from our hearts. I often say to Him, ‘I know that you hear me, but will you not answer my prayer?’ In my heart of hearts, I do know that He listens, but He is God, and I cannot dictate what He chooses to do or not. All I can do is trust.
Thirdly, I know for a fact that I can do as much as I can to help myself, but only God can open the way for me. This is especially true if I want to follow His will and His way. I was in a regular job before we came to Blenheim Lodge to run our Windermere bed and breakfast . . . and I was desperately unhappy in my job. For two long years, I tried to find another job. I made numerous job applications and went to interviews, but had no joy finding a new job. Each rejection felt like a body blow. I remember asking God, ‘Why, why, why?’
Then, Hubby and I prayed about a new direction, and we started to look for a business to run. We had never run a guest house before, and we knew that leaving our jobs to do so would entail a huge leap of faith. It says in the Bible, ‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.”‘ (Isaiah 30:21, New International Version) We felt that we were being pointed in a new direction, and only needed to be guided as to the what and where.
Well, as the saying goes, ‘the rest is history’. Hubby and I searched for a year before we found and decided to move to Blenheim Lodge. We gave up our home, our jobs, and moved our children out of their schools in Edinburgh. We moved away from our families, which was probably the hardest wrench of all.
But the Lord was with us. He gave us guidance and helped us to run the business. I will not say that the going was easy. We have had a lot of knocks and bumps along the way. However, we have also experienced much joy in our B&B, meeting with many lovely people from all over the world, and being given an opportunity to make their stay with us a happy restful time.
The news has been full of unhappy stories about the economic downturn since 2008, but this year seems to be more of an upward slog. So, like David, I have come to my God, and asked Him to help. I acknowledge that only He can help me or anyone else who asks.
David’s ‘enemies’ were the real flesh and blood soldiers of King Saul. Our enemies need not be men on the battlefield; our enemies could be anything else – ill health; difficulty in the workplace; personal or interpersonal problems, even the current economy, etc. It does not matter.
Sometimes my prayers have gone unanswered, even if they have not gone unheard, which is something I am sure of. Where I have harboured doubt, I ask the Lord to help me believe, because without faith, I cannot hope to receive. David kept faith with God even in his worst experiences – when he was being hunted down for the kill and felt that the Lord had cast him off. Hiding himself was not going to save him. Only God could save him.
I like to think as David did – that even in the best of my endeavours, I will have the help of the Almighty to see me through the rough as well as the smooth. I need not think that I have only myself to rely on. The Lord is my back-up and my strength. It is a very comforting thought indeed.
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