Much of my life I (Kristi) have struggled to Trust God fully. I’d read verses like Psalm 91:10, “No harm will befall you” and I’d think about the suffering in our world and in my life and conclude, “Those are nice words but they don’t seem to be always true.”
Nine years ago I was really seeking to learn to trust God more, to trust that he was good all the time — no matter what happened to me. To help me learn not to be afraid of bad things happening to me I memorized Psalm 91.
In the process of memorizing Psalm 91 I would say it over and over and over again. I carried it around on a little index card wherever I went. I kept reviewing it in my mind and praying through it. I did this when I went for a jog, driving, standing in line at the post office, or brushing my teeth. It was a blessing to me. The Lord used it to encourage me and speak to me. (Scripture Memory is a powerful discipline!)
I Took a Risk and Ventured on God!
Eight summers ago we decided it would be fun to go to a Water Park as a family. We got there early in the morning because we were going to leave that evening to go directly to Lake Arrowhead for a short vacation before our three children started school.
Now, I need to tell you that I’m not the water slide type! I’m not one who loves adventure — I like comfort more than adventure! But I decided it’d be good for me to Venture on God, not only to share this experience with my family, but also to practice trusting in the Lord.
As we stood in line for the first water slide of the day, I was a little bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. I’d never been on this water slide — it was steep and had lots of sharp twists! Also, I was thinking, It’s cold. I don’t want to get my hair wet because that will make me really cold so at the end of the slide I’ll stand up immediately.
Psalm 91 Helped Me to Face My Fear
As I waited in line I started meditating and praying through Psalm 91. I love that it offers us protection in God through the Messiah, Jesus Christ. “He will command his angels charge over you… They will lift you up in their hands so you don’t even strike your foot upon a stone.” It’s talking about God keeping you safe: “You will call to me and I will answer… I will be with you in trouble. I will honor you and deliver you. I will be with you to rescue you and protect you.”
What a blessing these words are! The Lord God Almighty is being portrayed as caring for us like a mother bird cares for her little chicks.
I was doing a “Psalm 91 Meditation,” praying about my fear of getting hurt and relying on God’s protection, as I climbed way up the stairs to the top of the water slide and sat down in the water. As I was flying down the slide, I was actually enjoying it — I wasn’t afraid! Then I realized, “Here comes the shoot — I don’t want to get my hair wet so I’m going to find the bottom of the pool and I’m going to stand up right away.”
Sure enough, that’s what I did. The slide flung me into the shallow pool and immediately I stood up so that I didn’t get my hair wet. But this put all the impact of my landing on my right heel and it broke! I broke my heel! It was really painful!
Does God Really Protect Us From Harm?
The reason I share this story is because oftentimes we think that the protection of God is always going to be something physical or that he’ll do whatever we want him to do. But I will tell you, in the midst of my suffering God did protect me. I wasn’t harmed. He was with me, caring for me so lovingly the whole time.
Yes, my heel was broken and it was painful, but through that process of getting hurt, limping around in pain, and then wearing a cast and walking on crutches the next four months, God did a work in my soul that was really good for me. I drew closer to him. I learned to slow down, to be more intimate with him, and to enjoy his presence more. I learned to receive his love in ways that I never would have been able to do if I hadn’t been in that place of need and dependency, that place of pain and waiting.
Our Image of God is Crucial
I used to let my view of suffering determine my view of God, but now my view of God determines my view of suffering. Psalm 91 has helped to renew my Image of God and to trust God more, appreciating that truly God is good and loving all the time. This is the test in many of the Trials we go through.
Because I had this worked out in my mind and heart before I broke my foot, when it happened and I was in pain I still experienced God’s loving care for me. The reality of my circumstances was that God allowed me to be physically harmed, but at the same time I was relying upon the larger and eternal spiritual reality that God was there with me, offering for me to come under his wing of protection.
The person I am and the person you are is always safe in our loving Father’s hands. As Dallas Willard likes to say, “This world is a perfectly safe place to be… As long as you’re in the Kingdom of God.”