Student Reflection: If the Lord Had Not Been on Our Side

Recently, I shared in an IFI Bible discussion group that my husband and I got a larger apartment and that we were moving in a week. I said I was happy because there was still time to organize the baby’s room for his arrival. Our friend said, “God has been good to you. Since the beginning of the year, you had a list of things you were praying for (direction for the period after my husband’s Ph.D., buying a car, scheduling a visa, a bigger apartment, etc.) and God has been answering all of your requests one by one!”

I kept thinking about what my friend said. While I was very grateful, I felt shame because I hadn’t realized the size of God’s care in our lives. I realized I was grateful but wanted to move on to the next thing. I didn’t behold the goodness of God. I was treating God solely as a provider or problem solver; I was Aladdin and God was my genie. 

But today, I opened the Bible to Psalms 124 and was able to contemplate the Lord in a way that He deserves.

If the LORD had not been on our side — let Israel say — if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124:1-8 (NIV)

I assume that David had escaped the trap of the enemy and was praising God for this deliverance. The first sentence that jumped out at me was If the LORD had not been on our side. I kept thinking about my journey with Jesus and imagining what it would’ve been like if He wasn’t by my side, both in the good and bad times. My heart was filled with gratitude and I began to thank the Lord for His goodness. What about you? Can you imagine if the Lord were not by your side?

The second teaching is that we need to look at God from a different perspective. Sometimes things don’t go the way we want and we get frustrated. But God always works for our good. David didn’t defeat the Philistines, which would have been his wish, but God protected him so that nothing bad would happen to him. Can you imagine if David was caught by the enemy? I don’t even want to imagine.

And the last verse also stood out. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. My help comes from the Lord, from the Creator of everything, from the Almighty– how marvelous! This is a verse worth memorizing and declaring every day!

After these lessons, I repented for the way I was coming to God. He can provide everything for me, but this isn’t the foundation of our relationship. He sent His son to die for me on the cross to pay for my sins so I may be adopted by Him. That’s how bad he wanted me! And he wants to be with me in every moment. How selfish was I for only coming to him for problem-solving! It wasn’t a healthy relationship. Can you imagine the person you love coming to you simply to ask you for things and then leaving? That leaves no room to have pleasure in their presence, which was exactly how I was coming to God.

Once I understood my mistakes and started mending my relationship with the Lord, my heart was full of gratitude and my days became lighter, for I know Who takes care of me. There’s power in praise, in adoration, in worship; they can change our hearts. 

May this Psalm encourage you to contemplate God’s goodness over you as it encouraged me! 

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