You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power.
Psalm 139:5 (GNT)
As long as we are among the living, we will encounter challenges that will consist of anything from losing a wallet to developing a life-threatening disease. All around us, there are people who have faced or are facing difficult times. No matter how secluded or upscaled a neighborhood may be, everyone is surrounded by threats that will bring about worry, fear, doubt, or great suffering at one point or another. This is the inescapable by-product of living in an imperfect mortal world plagued by physical, mental, and spiritual maladies.
While it is true that people respond to troubles differently, everyone experiences moments when it seems like they are being surrounded by an unfair, overwhelming, or even hopeless situation. The featured image above depicts a lighthouse surrounded by sharks. Have you ever felt that way before? As lighthouses for God shining His light in the world, Christians face not only worldly troubles but also the inevitable spiritual battles that test their faith. This song below was inspired by Psalm 23.1 Its chorus has become a favorite anthem among worshippers.
No one is ever ready/prepared to walk down “the valley of the shadow of death.” Even those who consider themselves emotionally strong or spiritually mature cannot escape the initial feeling of anguish and confusion that comes along with bad news. And even with moral support, one can still feel alone when surrounded by the seemingly unjust events of life. But God has promised to never leave us or forsake us2, to sustain us in times of trouble,3 to work ALL things for our good,4 and to restore us.5 He is the only One capable of turning our trials into testimonies of His mercy and grace. And because He is not only trustworthy and faithful but also loving and caring, we can choose to feel surrounded by His promises instead of the many sharks of life.
So, instead of focusing on your trials, how about you focus on the loving arms of Jesus embracing you. He is always there, even in your darkest hour. He is there to protect you from Satan whose sole purpose is to use the trials of life to steal your joy. God, however, wants to use those same trials to draw you closer to Him and remind you that His joy is your strength.6 Through the challenges we face each day, our heavenly Father wants to reveal His unconditional love, grant us His peace, and teach us to trust in Him. Whenever you feel surrounded remember you are surrounded by Him.
You may also enjoy reading one of my previous devotions titled, “Surrounded, but not overtaken.”
Prayer: Lord, when it looks like I am surrounded, remind me that I am surrounded by you, the Maker of the heavens and the earth. Remind me that I am not alone and that all my trials are not only temporary but that you are using them to help me grow stronger in faith and character. Thank you for always being there to guide me, sustain me, and see me through. May my total dependence on You result in the glory and praises of your holy name. Amen!
1- Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
2- Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. -Deut. 31:8 (ESV)
3- Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. -Psalm 55:2 (ESV)
4- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28 (NIV)
5- And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. –1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
6- …Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. -Nehemia 8:10