Gates were crucial to the protection of ancient societies. Trustworthy guards were commonly stationed at the entrance to a city to maintain constant vigil against wild beasts or invading armies. A watchful and alert gatekeeper was the first line of defense for vulnerable citizens. One who was lax in his duties could bring about the destruction of an entire nation.
In this familiar blessing from the book of Numbers (above), the priest reminded the people that God is the keeper of His people. He is the most trustworthy guard and maintains vigilant watch over all that is His.
Though you may know that’s true, do you sometimes struggle with faith in God when bad things happen to you, your friends and even in the world? When unpleasant things occur, does it mean that God failed at his promise to keep us? While we can’t grasp the complexities the Lord’s movements, you can trust He keeps us in ways we don’t always notice.
- How often is the irritating delay in your schedule or detour in your travels a sovereign work of God to protect you from harm?
- Could a desperate prayer that seems to go unanswered be an act of mercy to save you from a greater heartache?
- Are frustrated plans actually an invitation to a deeper relationship with the Lord of the Universe?
God isn’t deaf to our pain and hasn’t ignored our pleas. Instead, there are times when He allows our discomfort and exasperation to push us forward toward spiritual strength and endurance. While we tend to focus solely on what seems to be missing, His intent is so much greater and far reaching than the simple end to our difficulties. His keeping hand encourages perseverance and matures us through the difficulties so that in the end we are “full and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4