faith meets hope

There is a song I often sing called “Twenty-Three” which is based off of the Twenty-Third chapter of Psalms.  It is powerful.  The lyrics are simple and all too profound.

“Twenty Three” – Aaron Strumpel

Arise Oh Lord // Lift up Your eyes // Don’t forget I’m helpless // Oh You lead me to waters and pastures so green // Oh You pour out Your oil and choose goodness and mercy for me // No I will not be in want // You’re with me // I will not fear // You comfort me // I will not fear

So often, I exchange what is critically important for what is immediately demanding.  I make plans.  I pursue goals.  I entertain desires. I press on, and often succeed, but I am left wanting.  The cycle continues as if I am helpless.  “Arise Oh, Lord. Lift up your eyes, Don’t forget I’m helpless.”  Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a battle…. but, I already have the victory in Jesus.  “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).  The battle can cease.  He sustains.  He will fulfill.  “Oh, You lead me to waters and pastures green.  Oh, You pour out Your oil, and choose goodness and mercy for me.” When I remember this, I begin seeking the presence of the One who promises to walk with me.  “You’re with me, I will not fear.  You comfort me, I will not fear.” Perspective restored; peace renewed.  The song is interjected with a one line phrase repeated over and over again.  “No, I will not I will not be in want… No, I will not be in want…. No, I will not be in want…. No, I will not be in want…”  One day, I realized I may have slightly misunderstood the meaningful intent of this phrase. Perhaps this is not so much a call, demand, reminder, or resolve to not have desires…. perhaps it is more of a statement of reality or the realization of a promise.  I will not be in want.  God is enough.  A section of the passage states it this way:

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;” (Psalm 23:1-4, NIV)

But, an updated version of the NIV, states this new understanding of the meaning more clearly. “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1, NIV 2010).  A reprise of the song, repeats, “Everything, I ever wanted I found in you…”  I shall not be in want.  The truth is realized when hope meets faith.  Not a feeble hope, one that wishes for something that could occur by chance; but a firm hope, one that looks forward to a realization of a promise… a hope like Abraham’s:

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him . . . he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:18, 20-25)

I lack nothing.  This is not to say I will never have temporal need or longing desire.  But in Him, I lack nothing.  We must continue to press on, focus penetratingly on Him, and finish well. (Read Heb 12:1-3).  It is here, but not yet, (“…Who hope for what they already have?” Romans 8:24). But, the scoreboard is fixed.  When all is said and done, I have victory in Him.  He sustains me.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us  . . . What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:18, 31-38).

We are more than conquerors.  I will not be in want.

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