Conditions and Promises

The view from my back deck – my quiet place

But those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. – Psalm 37:9 NIV

My life is a witness to the faithfulness of God.

Back when we were poor and renting an apartment in town, we longed for a house in the country. But circumstances being what they were, the only chance we had of attaining that dream was a prayer.

But prayer, as we’ve learned over the years, is the most powerful force in the universe. Because sincere prayer unlocks the power of a God who loves us, has a plan and purpose for our lives, and wants the best for us – His best.

Back then Psalm 37 attached itself to my spirit, particularly verse 9: “Those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.”

And, oh, how we desired land – wide open spaces to roam and grow and raise our family.

Dean grew up on a 90-acre farm, and times spent visiting his parents in the country brought a spring to his step, a gleam to his eyes, and a joy in his heart that nothing else could. I saw a side of him I didn’t see when we were in town. I loved this side of him, and being the good wife that I am, longed for a home in the country even more.

But – the great “buts” of life – the obstacles, the mountains we cannot climb, the impossible dreams.

But nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37).

Ever notice the “but factor” in the Bible? First a statement of distress, then “But God . . .” There’s neither time nor room to explore all the places in the Word this statement appears. But let’s just focus on one psalm: Psalm 37 – the psalm the Lord gave me when I felt hopeless, the psalm I clung to over the years, the psalm I believed was God’s promise to me.

I particularly latched onto verse 4: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

The desires of my heart can be dangerous if not in line with what God wants for me. So my prayer became, “Lord, place Your desires in my heart, so I want what You want me to want – what You want for me.”

As I studied the psalm further, I saw it was a condition-promise psalm. There were certain conditions I am to fulfill for God to act on my behalf. Let’s look at them.

I am to:

  • not fret
  • trust in God
  • do good
  • live in dependence on Him
  • delight in Him
  • commit my way to Him
  • rest in Him
  • refrain from anger and forsake wrath
  • depart from evil
  • wait on the Lord
  • keep His way

And God will:

  • give me the desires of my heart
  • act (bring it to pass, answer prayer)
  • bring forth righteousness and justice
  • cause me to inherit the land
  • give me an abundance of peace
  • uphold me with His hand
  • be my strength in times of trouble
  • deliver me

I especially love verses 23–24: “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”

As I look back on my life, I see the faithfulness of a God who keeps His Word, who cares intimately for me, who guides and directs my steps and makes them firm, who gives me the desires of my heart.

Yes, we inherited the land. We have a beautiful home in the country on 13 acres, a family we delight in, faithful friends we can depend on for prayer support, and a God who blesses us exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Read and meditate on this psalm.

What verses speak to your heart? What situation in your life do these verses address? And, most important, what is God saying to you?

Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 37

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

A Childlike Faith

Image in public domain courtesy of PxHere

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 18:2–3 ESV

After a great start to the season, my favorite MLB baseball team went from first place to struggling to stay out of last place.

“No wonder they lose,” I grumbled as I listened to a game on the radio. “They keep putting in Vasquez as a closer.”

In a previous game he took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-run lead, walked three of the eight batters he faced, and gave up two earned runs, all with a grand total of 36 pitches. Yet he eked out the save. I was so upset I posted on Facebook “#notacloser.”

So when they put him in again I firmly believed he’d blow the save.

“Here goes the game,” I muttered.

Felipe came through. Then and in subsequent games. All he needed was someone to believe in him and give him another chance.

When did I become so cynical?

I thought of a recent Little League game I attended. Rain earlier in the day had filled the potholes with water, and there was a big one near where we set up our chairs – just outside the center field fence. You’d think drivers would see the big puddle, the people sitting nearby, and either go around it or through it slowly. But no, several drivers hit it dead center at a good speed, spraying muddy rainwater five feet away.

So I yelled at every driver that splashed through the puddle and gave the “dare stare” to everyone who approached it. I thought DH was going to find someplace else to watch the game. But I just didn’t feel like being nice.

So not like me – being cynical and critical. I’m usually accused of being too nice, too gullible, too patient.

Which got me thinking about cynicism.

Why are adults so cynical?

Life has made them that way. Disappointment, unmet expectations, unfulfilled dreams, squashed hopes, disillusionment – all breed doubt.

We think we’re being wise by being cautious, but, really, are we? Aren’t we just being cynical? Does it have to be that way?

Don’t you miss being a kid? Not bridling your enthusiasm, not restraining your joy. Children readily believe, trust and forgive. They aren’t afraid to hope. They dream big and believe their dreams will come true. They aren’t cynical or critical. They’ll give you a second chance. They’ll laugh at being splashed. After all, it’s only water with a little bit of dirt.

“Unless you turn and become like children,” Jesus said, “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Nor will you truly enjoy life. While I can give myself good marks in the faith department, I can’t in life.

Yes, we have bad days, times when we simply don’t feel like putting up and shutting up. But I don’t need to act out my frustration and momentary unhappiness.

I have some work to do.

Renew my childlike faith, Lord – in You and in life. Squash the cynic and critic in me. Give me the courage to unbridle my joy, set my enthusiasm free, and fling my hopes and dreams to the stars that they may soar. Amen.

Read and meditate on Mark 10:13–16.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.