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Both confident and flexible

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
- Psalm 27:13

Listen to that phrase at the end of today’s passage: “in the land of the living.” What thoughts and images does that conjure up?

Religions everywhere make promises that have to do with life after death. Some promise that you get another chance to get things right. Others promise the peace of non-existence. Still others promise harems or planets or pie in the sky when you die. Even Christianity makes promises in the life after death.

But in today’s passage, David focuses his vision on life before death, life in the land of the living.

David has tremendous and persistent confidence that God will do something for him in the here and now. God will put his very own goodness on display for David in this very life. Nothing could shake David’s confidence that God’s intentions toward him were good.

David walks a fine line here, as we all do when dealing with the promises of God.

On the one hand, we don’t want to put promises in God’s mouth. How easy it is to do this! We believe that we will see God’s goodness and translate that goodness into a set of expectations: a report from a doctor, a call from a child, a conversation with a bank or a boss or a spouse. We turbocharge those expectations and respond with dismay when they are disappointed. We do this even though we know better than to do this.

But on the other hand, we don’t want to abandon our confidence in God. We don’t want to ignore his promises. He’s given them to us for a reason. No, we need to do the hard work of remaining confident that the Lord will do what he says he will do while – at the same time – remaining open to how the Lord will bring his promises about. Confidence and flexibility both stand as necessities when dealing with the promises of God.

Where are you experiencing disappointment with God? He invites you today to be open to how he plans to work things out. Where have you let go of God’s promises? He invites you to pick his promises up with fresh confidence as you move into today.

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