If the Lord had not been on our side

4m | Jun 2, 2024

“If the Lord had not been on our side— let Israel say — if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Ps 124: 1 – 8)

I wonder if you have ever pondered a memory where, on reflection, if God hadn’t answered that prayer, if that thing hadn’t happened, if that person hadn’t arrived when they did, your situation might have turned out very differently.

Sometimes we only see the hand of the Lord when we look back afterwards.

I remember a time, when for a long season, I couldn’t work out what God was doing. A couple of people, good people, misunderstood my reasons for a decision that I made, and they began to think the worst of me. I tried to explain what was going on, we had several conversations, but things just went from bad to worse.

There isn’t space here to tell the whole story, but as things continued to go pear-shaped, I struggled to discern what God was up to. Until I realised (very slowly) that The Lord had plans I knew nothing about. New plans for me and new plans for the others involved in the situation.

Now, when I reflect on that portion of my life, I realise, like the psalmist, that if the Lord hadn’t been on our side (or “for us”, as he promises in Rom 8: 31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”), if He hadn’t granted me wise counsel form another brother at just the right time, if circumstances had played out differently, well… I dread to think how things might have turned out.

But the truth is, God fulfilled his purposes, and He answered prayers, even though some answers were unexpected. He made me realise how much I needed Him, and He challenged me on a few things too.

If the Lord hadn’t been on my side, if (with His help) I hadn’t clung to His promises, remembering that He is the Maker of heaven and earth (and so can do anything), I might not have seen the victory. I might have missed the new thing He was creating.

When stuff happens, it is easy to take our eyes off the Lord, to forget that as His children, He is “on our side”. It may take a while to realise that he is readjusting some plans and expectations, so that “our side” is shaped to His purposes, but He will keep us safe in the battle that gets us there.

Remember: The Lord is on your side. And His purposes in your situation are good purposes.

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