The LORD Keeps Us
I’ve said it before, and it’s still true. Motherhood has revealed my own need to me more than any other experience in my life. I have never felt so in over my head than I have in the last five years. I overanalyze how I handle my twins’ fighting, I beat myself up for too much screen time, I fear the thousand more important and life-altering decisions to come in the next 15 years. And I’m just so tired.
We haven’t had a hard road to growing our family. We haven’t even had hard babies for the most part. Sure, having two newborns at the same time proved quite the challenge. But even the most ordinary of parenting experiences puts me on my knees.
Now, I sit here with books strewn across my desk, writing while the sun peeks through the blinds, my toddler sleeps, and the twins play quietly in their rooms (which may not last long). It’s an ordinary Tuesday, one spent making meals and settling emotions (my own and my kids’). This morning brought challenges—ordinary ones, but challenges nonetheless. It’s in these everyday moments I forget the truth of Scripture even when I need to cling to it the most.
In the past couple days, Psalm 121 has come to my mind. It says:
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
This psalm is the second of the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134), a section of Scripture made of of individually written psalms but later edited together as a group. The Psalms of Ascent were believed to be sung by Jewish pilgrims as they journeyed to the temple in Jerusalem, the place where they offered sacrifices, worshipped, and sought to be in the very presence of God.
In the first psalm in the series, Psalm 120, the author is far from God and crying out because he’s in a violent and distant land. It’s a lament that ends with the line, “I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!” I’ve been studying that psalm for a few months, and I’ve cried out to God as the psalmist does. And then I turn to Psalm 121, a passage made so much richer after understanding the lament and grief in 120.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help com? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (121:1-2). After words of distress uttered through tears in 120, the journey continues. We can look up and know that our help comes from the LORD, the Creator, the one who keeps us. Eugene Peterson puts it this way, “The difference is that each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God; and therefore no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will guard us from every evil, he guards our very life.”
This is true in the big things and the little things. It’s true when you’re reeling from tragedy, and it’s true when you’ve blown it with your kids. It’s true in a hospital bed, and it’s true when your kid throws a tantrum. Whether in ordinary days or extraordinary heartache, the LORD keeps us.
Like Peter walking on water, we can so easily lose sight of God and fear the waves crashing over us. Peter cried out to Jesus, God in the flesh, saying, “Lord, save me.” And Matthew 14:31 says, “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’”
Why do we doubt? The LORD is our help. He has not fallen asleep. He does not slumber. He keeps us.
We will experience sickness, injury, tragedy, frustration, and more. Psalm 121 doesn’t guarantee health, wealth, and prosperity. But it guarantees that God is good and faithful. It promises us that evil will not have the final word and that the LORD will help us.
What more do we need?
God, you are the Creator. You are my help, and you have promised to keep me.
Remind me of this truth this week.