Were you fortunate to have the kind of friend on the playground who actually stood up for you when the bullies came to make trouble for you? I remember more than one of those occasions when the group of playground thugs would be headed my way - a loner on the playground, nary a friend close by to stand up for me. It made me very uncomfortable and the rest of the day usually went fairly poorly because others would have observed their ability to put me down, driving home some point about how I didn't really 'fit' in their crowd. Amazing what a bully can do to one's self-worth - making one feel lower than dirt. I no longer face 'bullies' in this life alone - Christ stands up for me!
Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against evil workers? If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up. (Psalm 94:18-19)
If God hadn't been there....those words mean a great deal to me - how about you? If God hadn't been there when pressures got to be too much for me to handle - what might have come in my life? The pressures might have consumed me. The sheer exhaustion of continuing to fight against those things that caused the pressures to mount would have overtaken me. If God hadn't been there when the biopsies were pending - what might my mind have convinced my body existed? My mind might have convinced me there was not hope - no good diagnosis that ever could come. Who stood by me as my mind created images of 'malignant' until the doctors proclaimed 'benign' - Jesus himself.
As the world around us seems to be crashing in and our footing seems to be slipping away, there is no greater foothold we can have than his presence and peace. I don't know why God keeps taking me back to this lesson from time to time in life. At the moment, there is no pressure too great, nor are there any 'impending' declarations, yet he returns me to this passage today. Maybe it is just to remind myself (and you) of his faithfulness - that there is no challenge too great; no 'bully' too strong'; no wickedness too dark for him. In Christ, we stand where others fall. In Christ, we walk away from the 'bullies' unscathed because they don't speak truth - we are valued far more than they will ever realize.
God takes our 'upset' and sets us right. He takes our escalated emotions and evens them out again. He takes our worst worries and releases us from their burden until we are free to worship him without burden or grief. Those playground days are gone for me - the taunting, teasing, and times of others having fun at my expense. Today's challenges may be a little more 'sophisticated' though - for the 'bullies' of this world will always exists - attempting to convince each of us that we are not worth much to anyone. As those taunts come - remember this - your worth is declared as far above any other - worth so much in fact that the price paid to set us free was the 'ultimate price'. Just sayin!