A Foxhole for All Travelers

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all the day.

–Psalm 86.3

Dear Travelers,

I listened to a sermon recently based on Psalm 86. Before reading the psalm, the preacher described it as a foxhole prayer. If you wonder why just read it and you’ll know why. During the message we were asked to list four things we would ask God to give us and then three things we know to be true about God. Now for those of you who prefer symmetry, I don’t know why we weren’t asked for four things we know to be true about God but you can certainly add a fourth, as I have.

Here are my four things: Hope, Joy, Steadfastness and Grace. Here are four things I know are true of God: He is Gracious. He is Compassionate. He is Faithful. He is Patient.

What four things would ask of God? What four things do you know to be true about God that will help you get out of your foxhole? Maybe you’re not in a foxhole. Maybe you’re in a rut. The exercise still works. Maybe life is good and you are doing well. Even so, the exercise still works because it packs truth into the soul giving it ballast to withstand the storms which may come.

Most of us are very good at writing down things that are true about our current situation. That said, we tend toward not doing so well at remembering what we have learned to be true about God. So here is good news: Psalm 86 is a God-given crib sheet. For in it God tells us what are those three or four things that are true about Him. The powerful and comforting thing about God’s character is not it is not dependent on what we think or feel. Whether I am happy or I am sa, God is always gracious, always compassionate, always faithful and always patient.

Psalm 86.15 tells us five things about God that the psalmist (David) knows to be true about God, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

What five things does David know to be true about God?

God is merciful.

God is gracious.

God is patient (He is slow to anger).

God is faithful (He is abounding in steadfast love).

God is trustworthy (He is a God of faithfulness).

So whether you are in a foxhole or standing on level ground, whether you are riding the wind or holding on for dear life in the midst of a hurricane of difficulties, whether you stuck in a rut or perched upon the mountaintop, it is good to remember and say with the psalmist, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
You think about that.

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