Two years ago my son-in-law participated in his first Iron Man race in Boulder, Colorado. It is a grueling event: a 3 mile swim followed by a 56 mile bike route and finished off with a 13 mile half-marathon, 72 miles start to finish. In his first Iron Man we were there, cheering him on. It was important that he knew we were “for him!” We were proud of him.
A few years ago he had let his weight get out of control and drifted well above 200 lbs. But he was determined to get into shape. Setting a goal was important and the Iron Man gave him incentive. He lost 50 lb. It wasn’t easy. It might have been impossible if he had tried to do it alone, without the support of family and friends.
We see it everywhere, especially in sports, but it is also true in the classroom and on the job and in every family. It matters when people are cheering us on, lifting us up, letting us know that they are for us! My father did that for me when I was young. I have sought to do the same for my children. They have pursued different paths, chosen different careers, but always I have wanted them to know that I was in their corner, I was “for them.”
How much more is that true for our spiritual quest and journey. We each need to know that God is on our side. He is cheering for us. A few days ago I came across a very simple statement in the Psalms, one I have somehow overlooked over the many years I have read the Bible. Psalm 56:9b simply says, “This I know, that God is for me.”
This was the secret of David’s success throughout his life, whether facing wild beasts as a young shepherd, Goliath on the battlefield, the death of his best friend, his own moral failure or the betrayal of his son, Absolam. Down deep, beneath all the terror and anguish of the moment, he was confident of one thing: “This I know, that God is for me.”
Wherever you are, God is for you. He wants to redeem you, to save you from the abyss, to turn you from your own destructive impulses and set your feet on fruitful paths. He wants to rescue you from the depths of despair. He will never leave you nor forsake you. “What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
You may sometimes feel that you are all alone when facing difficulties and trials. The mountains may seem insurmountable. But this is not so. God knows everything about you. He knows your fears as well as your dreams. He knows your doubts as well as your hopes. And, He has declared Himself for you!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).