Equipped, Protected, Strengthened
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
Tough climb ahead? Ordinand Sarah Rock-Evans, encourages us to 'take heart' and 'hope in the Lord.'
'Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.' Psalm 31: 24
As we come to the end of the summer and the start of a new school year, many among us will be facing new challenges. Perhaps you are stepping into a new college or university, maybe facing challenges within your health, finances or family life? Or perhaps you feel God is calling you to serve Him in a new way?
Psalm 31 speaks about trusting God in the midst of difficulty (if you are having a tough day it’s a good one to read!). Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t make us immune to challenges, but He has promised to be with us in all that we face, to equip, protect and strengthen us.
I have just returned from my first visit to Clip 'n' Climb, the indoor climbing centre in Exeter. It’s a long time since I had done any climbing so it was a good challenge! As I stood at the foot of the 8 metre high vertical climbing walls, it struck me that this was a good visual example of what it means to trust and follow Jesus by being equipped, safe and strengthened.
I was well-equipped for the task with a harness and plenty of holds in the walls to help me; I wasn’t attempting to climb without any help and in just the same way, God doesn’t ask us to forge ahead on our own without His help. In fact He asks the exact opposite; in Psalm 31 David writes of trusting God as his rock, his refuge and his fortress. God equips us by inviting us to look to Him in all that we do.
But even with our best efforts, things don’t always go to plan. On the climbing wall I was harnessed to an 'auto-belay' device; when I leaned back in the harness I was slowly lowered to the ground. Here was grace for any mistakes, or simply a way out for a tired climber! Jesus too covers us with His grace for the times we slip up.
Verse 19 of Psalm 31 says 'How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.' This is the grace that Jesus offers as we do our best to follow Him – we have an assurance that the Holy Spirit is with us in all things, guiding, protecting and upholding us.
And finally, we are strengthened as we step out in faith. I quickly discovered on the climbing wall that I am not 'climbing fit!' My arms ached and I was soon tired, but I was inspired to try again, to learn and improve, and I had fun along the way. In the same way, as we flex our spiritual muscles in our attempts to serve God, we grow through opportunities to learn more about who God is and who He is calling us to be, and that is a sure source of joy.
So, if you feel like there is a tough climb ahead, in whatever way that presents itself, be assured that God is equipping you with all you need, providing grace for your mistakes, and strengthening you to discover more about what it means to be part of His Kingdom.
The final verse of Psalm 31 says 'Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.'
I pray that in the coming weeks and months we will see more of the reality of this among us.
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