David Platt, a pastor and evangelist best known for his book Radical, recently did a podcast interview with Carey Nieuwhof in which he discussed the challenges and discouragement he’s faced in the last few years. Towards the end of the interview, Platt shared this heartfelt anecdote:
My wife and I were on a date one night and we were talking about a lot of the challenges we’ve been walking through and it was a low point. But I looked at her and I said, “Babe, I can honestly say that I know God more, and I love God more, and I trust God more now than I did two or three years ago.” I looked at her, I said, “I guess that if God is the goal then these are great days.”
I’ve been drawing similar conclusions lately. While my personal life is doing just fine, it seems the world around me is crumbling: politics, culture, the economy, international affairs, and entire world views have all gone sideways, and I’m left feeling frustrated, confused, heartbroken, and overwhelmed. And that’s on the easy news days.
And yet, like David Platt, I can honestly say that from where I sit in April of 2023, I know God more, and I love God more, and I trust God more than I ever have before. And if a deepening relationship with the Lord is the goal I profess it to be, then I, like Platt, must acknowledge that these are pretty great days.
I encountered an incredible verse in my personal Bible reading a few weeks ago: Psalm 33:22 is a verse I’d read in the past. . . it was even highlighted in my Bible (which isn’t saying much, most of the Psalms are highlighted in my Bible!); but on this reading, it stood out to me in a fresh, forceful way. Perhaps it was just my frame of mind as I read; maybe it’s these darker times we are in that has me clinging to hope as a lifeline. Most likely it was my version’s use of the word “faithful” that caught my attention in this year when my “faithful radar” is on high alert. Whatever the draw, I’m glad the Holy Spirit pressed this verse into my heart on that day: “May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you.”
The Message translation of the verse says it this way: “We’re depending on God; he’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got— that’s what we’re depending on.”
When the world was a little brighter, it was easy for me to put my hope in my financial security, or politics, or a perceived goodness in humanity. Now that all the worldly shine has worn off, I see the futility of that misplaced hope. It’s a harsh realization, and yet it is my saving grace as it positions me to redirect my hope towards the only worthy source. God is everything I need, and I can depend on Him.
Psalm 33:22 is now a breath prayer I return to whenever I’m tempted to worry or doubt or grasp for false rescuers. When people around me let me down: “May your faithful love rest on me, Lord, for I put my hope in you.”
When I grow discouraged by culture’s deceptive messages: “May your faithful love rest on me, Lord, for I put my hope in you.”
When I am consumed with worry over my kids’ safety and future: “May your faithful love rest on me, Lord, for I put my hope in you.”
When I am confronted with my own inadequacies and shortcomings: “May your faithful love rest on me, Lord, for I put my hope in you.”
When I start to question my sanity in a world that seems turned upside down: “May your faithful love rest on me, Lord, for I put my hope in you.”
God, we ARE depending on you to love us with all you’ve got! Thank you for the gifts of your faithfulness, your goodness, and your love that shine in the darkness and make these hardest times the greatest days of all.