June 19, 2016

Psalm 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.

Along with Psalm 22, this verse is also one that Jesus perhaps quoted from the cross. (He at least said the same thing, whether or not it was a quote.) (Luke 23:46) That’s all the more reason to pay close attention to it. Not speaking Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, I don’t know the possible nuances of how David wrote it or Jesus spoke it, but comparing various English and Japanese translations helps in understanding. What is talked about here isn’t resignation or despair; it isn’t passive, it isn’t giving up. Rather, it is an active choice. Too often we “give things to God” only when our best efforts are fruitless. Jesus was powerless on the cross only because that was His choice, to take on our human condition fully so as to pay the price for our redemption. We need to commit our spirits, and everything else about us, to God not because we are hopeless, but because He has the very best solution to whatever we face. When we live in that assurance, the devil can’t shake us.

This is certainly timely! Yesterday we had a huge emotional blow when the owner of the land next door told us that he is in talks with two other potential purchasers, when he had led us to think that we were his first choice, and he also went up slightly on the price. That isn’t the way we deal with people, so we hadn’t seen it coming. We need to focus on the fact that we have been praying for that land for 18 years, and have been given assurances from multiple sources that the Lord intends it for us. No one who was in this congregation 18 years ago is currently here, so Cathy and I are the only ones who would have that long-term expectation. I am not to be shaken by what anyone, in the church or outside of it, might say, but commit everything to my Lord as an active choice. One difference between the English and the Japanese for this verse is that the English says, “redeem me,” as a request, while the Japanese says, “You have redeemed me,” as accomplished fact. I need to rest in God’s accomplished work and not anxiously beg Him to do what He has already done.

Father, just yesterday in my prayer I was thanking You for what You allow us to go through so that we may learn Your unchanging faithfulness. I needed to remember that throughout the day! Help me refuse all the lies of the enemy and rest, relax, and rejoice in You and Your perfect plans for me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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2 Responses to June 19, 2016

  1. brujsims says:

    Reblogged this on Call to Witness and commented:
    Too often, we turn to the Lord when all else fails. Such thinking is a demonstration of weak faith. While we may not understand why certain things happen, we shouldn’t panic and seek the Lord for deliverance. Instead, we ought to pray to Lord and accept the situation for what it is and rest in the fact that God has the situation well under control.

    • jgarrott says:

      An important part of “accepting the situation” is asking for whatever good God wants to bring from it. (Romans 8:28) In praying for people my mother often asked that they be “kept from unnecessary pain.” Sometimes pain is an important part of God’s loving discipline. (Hebrews 12)

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