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’s 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 phD, 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 that I was grateful but I wanted to move on to the next objective. I did not behold the goodness of God. I was treating God just as my provider or my problem solver. My prayers consisted of telling God what I needed and I kept moving from one thing to another. It was like God was my genie.

But today I opened the Bible to Psalms 124 and I was able to contemplate the Lord in a different and more coherent way with what He deserves.

1If the LORD had not been on our side — let Israel say — 2if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us, 3they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; 4the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5the raging waters would have swept us away. 6Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. 8Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.         

Psalm 124 (NIV version)

I assume that David had escaped a 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 be like if He wasn’t by my side, both in good times and in bad times. My heart was filled with gratitude and I began to contemplate and 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 with a different perspective. Sometimes things don’t go the way we want and we get frustrated. But God always works for our good. David did not 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 like to imagine.

And the last verse also stood out in my eyes. 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. I marveled at this verse, because the Creator of all, the Almighty, is on my side. He is my help. In good and bad times. In the times I can see His goodness, and those times I didn’t even notice. This is a verse worth memorizing and declaring every day.

Well, after these lessons I repented for the way I was coming to God. He can provide everything to me, but this is not the foundation of our relationship. He sent His son to die for me on a cross to pay for my sin so that I can be adopted by Him. He wanted me so hard that He did that. He wants to be with me every moment and I was coming to Him just for the things he can solve or give. That is not a healthy relationship. Can you imagine the person you love coming to you just to ask things you can provide and not having pleasure in our presence? That was the way I was coming to God.

The end of the story is that I repented and from now on I will spend more time contemplating my beloved than asking him for things. The Lord’s presence is more important.

Also, after this period of contemplation of the Lord, my heart was full of gratitude and my day became lighter, because I know who is taking care of me. I think that there is power in praise and worship of God. They can change our hearts. 

I hope this Psalm helps you to contemplate God’s goodness over you!

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