“Thank the Lord! He has heard my prayer for mercy! The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted him, so I received help. My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song.” Psalm 28:6-7 GWT
I remember a number of years ago when I was struggling in a particular area of my life. I was living in a time of great disappointment and my heart had become weary with deferred hope. I felt like I needed a defender in my life at that time, but was finding myself very defensive about almost everything. I spoke to the Lord about this battle and wondered why He was not defending me the way I felt He should. The Lord immediately challenged my heart by reminding me that He could not defend me when I was busy defending myself. I needed to relinquish my own need to be defended and trust in His defense. The moment I did, my heart completely shifted. I found my heart beginning to rise out of the place I had been captive and the song of the Lord returning to me.
As I think back to that time, I have realized something. As much as we fight for our right to be covered, we can never cover ourselves the way God can. We will always feel weak and vulnerable if we have to be our own strength and shield.
David catches something in this passage. Enemies may be great, but God’s defense system is greater. When the heavens seem silent God still hears. When it seems like the situation is insurmountable, God has already triumphed and is calling us higher.
To understand this changes our perspective of life both in the immediate and in the long term.
Here is the confidence we can have. God heard David. God will hear you and I.
My strength and shield are not my own ability to get me through, but the might and power of a God who protects with a defense system that cannot be broken or overcome. My position in this place is one of trust. Do I trust in myself to get me through? Or am I going to trust in the One who has overcome and position my heart to receive His help? Having already tried many times to fix things myself, today I throw my lot with Him.
When I truly get who He is, it transitions me. Like David, I can then have a triumphant heart that gives thanks with a song. A song even when the situation has not changed. How can we do that? We have redirected our focus to the one who holds the day and our situations all must bow before Him. None are greater than our God.
What does this have to do with gratitude you might wonder. Everything. A grateful heart knows that God will, even when He hasn’t yet made manifest that which we long for. That heart can praise Him before the longing is fulfilled. Why? Because the grateful heart believes Him more than it believes the whispers of the enemy.
Today I am thankful for God’s reminder that He is my defense. When I feel the need to rise up and cover myself or try and change my circumstances, may I lean hard into Him and trust in His wisdom and in His strong and reliable shield. He covers well. My heart does sing.