Preserved by God


Identity: “I am preserved by God.”

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Here we are. Hump day. Perhaps your day is set to be filled to the brim. I know mine is. You might be feeling physically, spiritually, emotionally, or relationally a bit low. “Spent” is a good word. So let’s lean into that for just a moment and see if we can’t leverage our weakness and grow in strength.

Feeling “spent” is a common experience not only on weeks that demand a bit more out of us but something that we encounter again and again throughout our entire lives. The call of God to faithfully persevere throughout our years is no small thing. Heartache, setbacks, temptations, paying the bills, and our own doubts continually put us to the test. To state the obvious: Perseverance is so hard.

That’s why we have to remember that she, Perseverance, has a twin sister known as “Preservation,” and she is a breath of fresh air to a tired soul. You see, at this moment and throughout life, God never calls you to merely white-knuckle the situations, days, weeks, months, years, and just get through it. He has promised to be with you, and He will preserve you even as you sometimes grow weary in persevering. His word to you today concerns you loosening your grip on today, on this situation, on your life, and allowing yourself the joy of being comforted and carried by his Spirit. After all, our burden-lifting Jesus doesn’t create white knuckles out of his followers. He brings joy, peace, comfort, and the best wine. He brings good news as he preserves us.

The Christian life is not a quiet escape to the garden where we can walk and talk uninterruptedly with our Lord; nor a fantasy trip to a heavenly city where we can compare blue ribbons and gold medals with others who have made it to the winners’ circle… The Christian life is going to God. In going to God Christians travel the same ground that everyone else walks on, breathe the same air, drink the same water, shop in the same stores, read the same newspapers, are citizens under the same governments, pay the same prices for groceries and gasoline, fear the same dangers, are subject to the same pressures, get the same distresses, are buried in the same ground. 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 when accidents we experience, the Lord will preserve us from evil, he will keep our life.
— Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society, 40-41.