Hindsight is great. There is much wisdom to be gained by reflecting on life that has already happened. I find that pondering life’s tougher episodes is especially enlightening. So, in the evening, I sometimes ask God to review the day with me and show me where I missed the mark, where I missed Him, so that when a similar situation comes up in the future, I’ll be more prepared, more present to God, more ready to respond to whatever happens with grace.
Foresight is great, too. In the morning, I like to anticipate my day—whom will I encounter? What tasks will I undertake? What circumstances will threaten my peace or joy? What opportunities will God entrust to me? Where might the enemy seek to cause damage to or through me? By anticipating these and talking them over with God ahead of time, I obviously am more likely to be in step with the Holy Spirit.
However, even when practicing these good spiritual habits, I find that more often than I’d like, I still sometimes myself blindsided in the present. I may enter a situation prayed up and spiritually alert—and still be knocked to the floor by feelings, words, or happenings that I wasn’t ready for.
I don’t have the answer to that difficulty yet. But the Lord did give insight yesterday that I’ll be pondering it for a while. It came from Psalm 31, a psalm of David, who certainly knew better than most of us what it is to be taken out by surprise attacks both from without and within.
After describing enemies and persecutors who lie, plot, shame, and speak contemptuously, David breaks into praise:
Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.
Cool stuff, right? But here is the part that I found most riveting:
Blessed be the LORD,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city. (Psalm 31:19-21, emphasis added)
David knew God’s steadfast love while he was under siege. Yes, he knew it before. Yes, he also knew it afterwards. But he knew it “wondrously” even in the middle of the attack.
I’m not there yet. When I’m under attack, I do not find it easy to connect with God’s steadfast love. I don’t find it easy to connect with God, period. But this psalm encourages me. It reminds me that it is possible to know and experience the tender mercy of God, even in the midst of an assault. So that is my prayer.
I’d love to hear from you folks. Have you learned David’s secret? Do you experience God’s steadfast love even when you are in “a besieged city”? I’d love to learn from you.