“Why are Dad’s golf clubs by the door?” Cooper asked one afternoon.
“Mom’s selling them,” answered his sister, Ashlynn.
“Selling them?” Cooper’s voice rose. “But Dad will want them when he comes back!”
“Oh, give it up, Cooper,” said Ashlynn. “Dad’s not coming back.”
“He is too!” said Cooper.
“Well, Mom’s selling his clubs,” said Ashlynn. “She needs the money.”
Cooper rushed to his room and slammed the door. His dad seemed farther away than ever.
The next day Cooper went to his friend Aaron’s house to play. “Guess what?” asked Aaron when he met Cooper at the door. “My dad gave me his old toy train! Come and see it.”
“Cool!” said Cooper.
Aaron’s dad helped the boys put the train together. Cooper enjoyed having him work with them but watching Aaron with his dad made Cooper jealous. Suddenly, he picked up a piece of the track and threw it. Then he banged his fists on the carpet. Aaron’s dad gently put his hand on Cooper’s shoulder. “Would you like to talk about it?” he asked.
“No!” yelled Cooper. Then he changed his mind. “Mom’s selling Dad’s golf clubs,” he said with a sob.
“I’m so sorry,” said Aaron’s dad. “When I was your age, my dad left too. I remember I didn’t want his things sold or given away. I thought he’d come back home.”
“Dad will come home,” said Cooper softly. He wished he could really believe that.
“I hope so,” said Aaron’s dad. “I can relate to the emptiness you feel.” He handed Cooper a tissue. “Do you know the heavenly Father, Cooper?” Do you know Jesus? If you trust Him, you become a child of God. Not having your earthly father with you leaves an empty spot in your life, but when you’re part of God’s family, your heavenly Father is always with you. You can talk to Him anytime, anywhere.” He squeezed Cooper’s shoulder. “Shall we talk to Him right now and tell Him how you feel?”
Cooper wiped his eyes and nodded.
If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be?
In the passage we just heard from Psalm 27, David gives us a good suggestion. He longed to live in the house of God. He didn’t want to step away from God. Similarly, we as Christians should long to live in God’s house, because when we get there we will never want to leave.
Psalm 27 starts with a confession of faith. Biblical faith is relational at its core. Faith enables us to have a relationship with God. When we have a faith-based relationship with God, He will always be there for us. That does not mean that He will keep us out of trouble. He will protect us from the results of trouble. God’s presence and protection will allow us to triumph over our enemies. In return, we should offer praise and thanks to God.
In her bestselling book “The Hiding Place,” Corrie ten Boom tells of the tense times in the Netherlands during the Nazi invasion. One night when there was bombing and shelling happening all around the house where she and her sister lived, Corrie couldn’t sleep. Hearing her sister in the kitchen, she decided to go down and join her.
Long into the night after all the bombing ceased and all was silent, Corrie returned to her bed only to find that her pillow-right where her head laid-had been pierced with a sizeable piece of sharp metal shrapnel from an exploding bomb! Going downstairs to the kitchen saved her life!
She rushed to tell her sister saying, “Betsie, if I hadn’t heard you in the kitchen…” To this her saintly sister interrupted, “Don’t say it, Corrie. There are no ifs in God’s world. The centre of His will is our safety.”
Later, when she was going through terrible trying times in a Nazi prison, Corrie ten Boom was to learn over and over this marvelous truth: “God’s will is our hiding place.”
Some people say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Psalm 27 tells us that, like David, we believe first and our believing leads us to the seeing of what we believe. That is the essence of faith-believing God for something we can’t see.
Psalm 27 overflows with confidence. All of us need confidence, especially as we seek to grow in faith. Religious confidence (also known as faith) is the frame of mind that God wants us to have so He can give us all the things we need for our faith to thrive and grow. How do we get this confidence? The answer is a three-point position-despite the present hardships in our lives, things are not as they seem so you can live boldly with God. Confidence does not depend on our strength or ability to endure. It depends on our faith in God.
David dealt with his fear and trouble by turning to his confidence and salvation-God. When believers encounter trouble and put worshipping God as the centre of their lives, He lifts their heads and hearts. Seeing the greatness of Almighty God changes one’s perspective on trouble.
When David prayed in his time of trouble, he realized how dependent he was on God’s provision. In humble submission, he sought the Lord’s presence, counsel and fellowship, and then resolved to wait for and do whatever God told him to do.
The terminal illness of the western world today is a loss of hope. Many people have given up on the future and are living meaningless lives that are full of despair. There is a sense of doom even though there are pockets of Christianity. We, like David, need a renewal of faith so that we may see God’s goodness in our lives.
Fear is a difficult aspect of human life. There are some things that are frightening, and it’s natural for us to respond to them in fear. It’s one thing for us to feel fear, but it’s another thing for us to live in fear. Sometimes we turn fear into something that occupies our entire lives. It can bring out the worst in us. Psalm 27 addresses the problem of fear and how to find ways of feeling it without letting it dominate our lives. In the words of former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
If we want to know how God meets our needs, all we have to do is look at the Lord’s Prayer. It is a step-by-step description of how He meets our needs when we live in Him. Everything that occurs in a healthy house is described in the Lord’s Prayer-protection, instruction, forgiveness and provision.
We don’t need to be afraid of the darkness of the world when God gives us His light. We can have hope. We can expect to receive God’s help and salvation right now-even as we fight the forces of evil. God will never leave us or forsake us. He is a loving father. People who do not have a good relationship with their earthly fathers may find this difficult to believe and accept. Psalm 27 assures us that all voids in our lives will be filled. The people will not be judged or condemned for their past lives or their parental upbringing. When we have a relationship with God, He will add joy and hope to whatever we’re going through.
God will be with us when we face life’s challenges. Perhaps life or work you knew suddenly ended. Perhaps you lost a spouse because of death, or your marriage ended, or you lost your job and income. You might feel as if you are in mid-air and have no idea where you’re are going to land or if you’re going to crash. It can be very scary, even terrifying.
Sometimes life’s challenges cause us to panic. When that happens, we as Christians need to follow these guidelines:
- Back off from the situation and do nothing until you have taken the situation to God in prayer. As the old saying goes, “haste makes waste.”
- Get competent advice. Panic produces paralysis, so we need to listen to other people.
- Put your options and their consequences down on paper.
If you tear open a cocoon to set a butterfly free, the creature’s wings will be severely underdeveloped. That’s because the act of struggling to leave the cocoon strengthens the butterfly’s wings, preparing them for flight.
We also have times of transition, change and challenges, but our remedy is not unlike that of the butterfly. If we try escaping God’s cocoon before He’s done changing us, we risk undermining and delaying what He’s trying to do. When we’re experiencing time in God’s cocoon, we need to relax. In the stillness we will hear God. While we wait, our character will be formed. If we wait upon God and allow Him to release us from the cocoon, we will be strong and prepared to fly in ways we never could have if we had left God’s cocoon too soon.
What is the source of our confidence? What inner wellspring do we drink from when times are tough or criticism falls on us like a winter blizzard? Is there an empty spot in your life because someone or something is missing? Do you know the heavenly Father? When you trust in Jesus you become a child of God. You can tell Him how you feel, and He will always be with you. When He is with us, we have nothing to fear. He is our saving light. When we face life’s struggles and challenges, we can trust God through Christ, who shines on us with love and brings us from darkness to light and from death to life.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New Kings James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 723-724)
- Margaret Primrose, “Cooper’s Problem.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Williams, D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 13: Psalms 1-72 (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1986; pp. 220-226)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2020; pp. 720-721)
- Dick Mills, “The Lord Will Take Care of Us.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- “Hope Forever.” Retrieved form Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Robert G. McCreight, “Confidence to Spare.” Retrieved from www.SermonSuite.com
- Richard Inness, “Between the Trapezes.” Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
- Pastor Dick Woodward, “What is Faith?” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Harold Sala, “Panic-Driven Decisions.” Retrieved form firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Arterburn, “Time in the Cocoon.” Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
- Richard Inness, “The Hiding Place.” Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
- The Rev. Alan Brehm, “What Do We Have to Fear?” Retrieved from http://thewakingdreamer.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-do-we-have-to-fear.html
- Paul O. Myhre, “Commentary on Psalm 27.” Retrieved from www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1544