There is a song in our book which begins with these words, "Thus far the Lord has led me on, thus far his power prolongs my day." As we approach the new year, I find these words to be of great comfort for if our eyes are open, we know it is by the Lord's mercy and grace that we are here today and that we have made it……"thus far". It is good to reflect upon this truth, for if our Lord has been with us in the past, he will not desert us today, tomorrow or in the years to come. When David wrote of the Lord's abiding presence, he said, "Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?"(Psalm 139:5-7). When David used the word, "Behind", he saw the Lord's hand of providence in his past life leading him, blessing him and guiding him. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. We look back and see things in their proper perspective. Many times it takes years to fully understand the why of things. Time is a great teacher. Let us be careful to attribute all of our past blessings to our Lord and not luck. If we see past luck and not past Lord we will become unthankful and must trust to the impersonal god of luck for our future. Will this be the God that we pray to? And what about our past trials and misfortunes. We know that David saw the Lord in these as well. In the most famous of all Psalms written by David, he said, "Thy rod and they staff they comfort me." Yes, David found comfort in the rod. In the rod of affliction and in punishments, David saw the Lord as a loving Father who would chasten him when he wandered. He saw afflictions as eyeglasses keeping his eyes focused on better things than this present world. When I look back in my life, I remember some things that I did not think I could go through. I thought they would never end. Today, I see those things differently. I realize as I was going through them, the Lord was with me and many fond memories are found there. As we look back, let us ascribe our misfortunes to His teaching or else, the past will never make sense to us and our hardships will make us bitter rather than better.
As David uses the word "before" I find comfort and hope for us all. David EXPECTS the Lord to be in his future life. The future is something that is greatly feared and we have the ability to imagine great evils which may never occur. As our Lord said, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof ...take therefor no thought for the tomorrow." We are thus taught to live day by day, in day-tight compartments. When the submarine hits a mine, each compartment is sealed off, securing the air and precious cargo. When we hit a land mine in our life, let us seal of the day, day by day, for the Lord, taking one days troubles at a time. We can all get down and depressed if we do not live for the present blessings. Surely, we should look for them and be thankful for what good we have in hand. Many blue tomorrows are the offspring of a red hot today in the flesh. Let us stop and meditate upon the Lord, His word and His knowing our tomorrow and holding it in His hand.
But what about today? Did David's Lord, know his present plight? Does He know, or even care, about ours? To describe our Lord's present presence David uses the word, "thine hand upon me". Here is a hand that can not be moved. Our Lord's abiding presence in our lives is strong. He is a friend that "sticketh closer than a brother." Jesus is a faithful high priest who is touched by the feelings of our infirmity. He, too, walked the shores of time. He saw troubles, He saw conflicts and disappointments. People misused Him, even people He loved. Yet, He did no sin. I love what one preacher said to his member when they informed him that they did not feel as close to the Lord as they once did. He asked them this question: "Who moved?" No, we are not promised that we will not see troubles and conflicts. In fact, we are guaranteed that we will. But we are promised that He will walk with us through them as He was with Daniel in the den of lions and the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. His hand was upon them as well. And though He may not change the present difficulty, is it not a great blessing to know that He knows all about them and that we can share it with Him. Thus far!