“Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4).
Sometimes it does not seem that way. Sometimes we aren’t so sure that he is watching over us. Sometimes we want to join the sons of Korah who shouted: “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever” (Psalm 44:23).
These were not the words of unbelief. The sons of Korah wrote the psalm that begins, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46). The famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress” is based upon their words.
These words flowed from confusion and stress—and a bit of doubt.
Their forefathers had flourished under the hand of God. Enemies had been pushed back. Victories had been gained. “But now” they lament, “you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies.” The result? “You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us.” “I live in disgrace all day long…” (Psalm 44:10,15).
We might pass over this lament as just old words from the Old Testament, but the Apostle Paul repeats the thought for New Testament Christians. He writes: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” or many New Testament Christians, the meaning was literal. Many were killed because of their faith in the true and living God. Others faced hard-times, rejection, disappointment, and failure. Many wondered, “Why?” So might we.
Those who have seen horrible sights in wars; those who have been unfairly judged and punished; those who have seen hopes die and evil triumph—those are the ones who sometimes wonder if God has fallen asleep.
It’s not as if we were expecting only good things in life. We know better. But we tend to set a limit to how much bad the good Lord will allow to come into the lives of his people. When bad gushes in like a flood over a dam, we fear all is lost.
We wonder if God is angry at us. We wonder if he is too busy, too careless, or just too tired to step in to help. In short, we begin to view God as if he were only human. He is not.
He is the Creator. He is the Judge who rules all things for our benefit. He is our Savior Lord. He does not lie. He does not treat us as we deserve. Again, and again he tells his sheep, “Fear not!” He has bought us with holy blood. Our doubts are foolish.
The sons of Korah knew that. That’s why they ended their lament with the confident plea: “Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 44:26).
That’s our petition, too. In a hymn we sing: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” His love will never fail. He who sent his Son to bleed for us—He is the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps.
We pray: Heavenly Father, dangers, sorrows, and fears wash over our faith at times. We don’t often see what you are doing to protect us. We read the worst into the cause of trouble in life. We easily doubt your love and your care. Send the Holy Spirit into our lives that faith may replace doubt; courage replace fear; and joy replace worry. Watch over us always and everywhere. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military