I've had rather a sad week. Firstly, an old friend of ours died suddenly of a heart-attack, aged 49. His son used to be one of Logan's best friends when Logan was still at school and his wife was my walking partner and a very good friend. I've been to visit them and the funeral is tomorrow morning. Apart from being so upset for them, I've been feeling melancholy as I've remembered old times. Also, I heard that a friend's friend, aged 39, rolled her car and was killed just one kilometre from her home while her one year son in the back seat had only minor head injuries. And just last night as I was driving to my Bible Study group, one of the roads near our home had been cordoned off by the police. When I arrived I found out that somebody had only just been killed there. As I heard somebody say, also life is a very strong force, at times like this we see it is also extremely frail.
Incidents such as these seem to indicate that there is not much we can do to control our own destinies but I think there is one vital thing; the most important thing of all. We can trust the Person who does know what is going to become of us and holds our future in His hands.
I read an interesting story about Psalm 91 which has some bearing on all of this. It's always been one of my favourite Psalms and I learned that it is actually known as "The Soldier's Psalm." In World War One, the soldiers of the 91st Battalion decided to recite the 91st Psalm daily, because they were the 91st Battalion. This Battalion engaged in three of the War's bloodiest battles, yet although other units suffered up to 90% casualties, the 91st Battalion did not suffer a single combat related death. It would seem that when we are faithful enough to take God at His Word, He quickly shows us that He able and willing to keep His promises.
The writer said that we ought to plead God's shield daily in these uncertain times. We can confidently claim His rest, protection, safety, confidence and complete freedom from fear. I'm going to make a habit of praying it out loud as a covering for my family, not to twist God's arm as nobody can ever do, but to know that I am doing all I can do and all that He asks of me.
I'll just write down this version of it from the New Living Translation.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust Him.
For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.
If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet.
The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my Name. When they call on me I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.