Growing in His Grip
How does it feel when you know that your circumstances relate directly to you’re the consequences of your own action? We have talked before about when things happen that you have no control over. But how about when something happens that is a direct result of your own behavior? Now that can be a desert experience!
Psalm 6 has been called the first penitential Psalm. It is here that the Psalm writer recognizes the reality of his sin. That is a tough place to be, but one that each one of us has experienced. When your life is in a mess—and you’ve made it that way—there is only one place to be: in the center of God’s grip.
God’s Grip is Where I Want to Be…
O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony (Psalm 6:1-2)
1) Because God’s Grip comes with Mercy
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18).
The very character of God is to demonstrate mercy to His people. Even when we are blowing it, He will not abandon us when we are in the mud. He loves us too much to let us stay where we are, but He will not abandon us in our place of hurt, rebellion, or anger. In fact, it is in those places of anger and rebellion that God most often shows up so powerfully.
George Macleod (Focal Point, Conservative Baptist Seminary, Spring 1981) said it this way:
I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the market place as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles: But on a cross between two thieves; on a town garbage heap; At a crossroads of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew, and in Latin and in Greek. And at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died, and that is what He died about. And that is where Christ’s people ought to be and what church people ought to be about.
2) Because God’s Grip comes with Healing
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).
When tragedy strikes, we can either see the hurt, or we can see the healer. God’s character not only brings mercy to us, but His grip has healing in it.
When Handel wrote the "Hallelujah Chorus," his health and his fortunes had reached the lowest possible ebb. His right side had become paralyzed, and all his money was gone. He was heavily in debt and threatened with imprisonment. He was tempted to give up the fight. The odds seemed entirely too great. And it was then he composed his greatest work—Messiah. (Peter Marshall, Sr., "Who Can Take It?," Preaching Today, Tape No. 131.)
My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes (Psalm 6:6-7).
3) Because God’s Grip comes with Unfailing Love
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (II Corinthians 4:7-9).
NOT LIKE THIS: A Favorite Story: American soldiers during the Korean War rented house and hired a local boy to take care of housekeeping and cooking. Little Korean boy had a wonderful attitude, always smiling. They played one trick after another on him. Nailed shoes to the floor…no problem, he’d take nails out and go on with great attitude. Grease on stiff handles, he’d wipe off and go his way. Balanced buckets of water on door and he’d get drenched; positive attitude anyway.
One day they got ashamed of their tricks and pulled him aside and said to him, “No more tricks”. We are never going to trick you again. Your atttitude has been great! The boy asked, “No more nailing shoes to the floor? No more sticky on stove knobs? No more water buckets on door? Okay then, no more spit in soup” he responded with a smile and a shrug!
4) Because God’s Grip Brings Pain before Change
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).
None of us likes pain, but it is essential to experience in order to have God’s character built in us.
Receive the Promises of God’s Grip:
If you live your life in the center of God’s grip there are two specific promises that I’d want you to know about:
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will beashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace (Psalm 6:8-10).
God’s Grip is Secure
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
God’s Grip Brings Victory
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4).
Where are you resting this morning? Are you securely in His grip? Or, are you grasping for your own place of safety?