The Outer Limits

A Psalm of David—Psalm 143

Over the next few days, we’re going to take a close look at this psalm, which is one to which most of us can really relate. I encourage you to read it in your Bibles before we begin our study. In this psalm, David records his experience of being severely tested, feeling alone, and in desperate need of the Lord’s deliverance. Even though he doesn’t seem to hear from the Lord during the course of these verses, it appears that his faith is being strengthened with each cry that he makes to God.

Look at Psalm 31:13-16, another of David’s psalms: “For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord . . . ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand; deliver me from . . . my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon [me]; save me for Your mercies’ sake.” We can all relate to David’s pain; can we relate also to His trust in the only One who can save him?

One thread runs throughout Scripture, and it is this: There’s a definite line drawn between the righteous and the wicked, and although those who love the Lord will experience attacks, trials, and tribulations, God remains faithful to His children through them all. Over the next few days, we’re going to be reminded that true faith is always going to be tested, but we can be encouraged by the book of James, in which he writes, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).

It’s been said that without tests, we have no testimony, which comes from the Latin word for “witness.” Faith can only be trusted once it’s been tested. And the testing will leave us with a witness, a testimony, that will strengthen not only ourselves but those with whom we share it or who observe it firsthand in our lives.

So get ready! Our faith is going to be stretched to the outer limits. What outer limits? We’ll be tested to the limit when it comes to our trust in God; tribulations may bring us to the outer limits of hope. When we walk strictly by faith in Him, we may feel that we’re stretched to the outer limits of our peace and joy. But what we’ll also be able to hold onto is that even in the outer limits the Lord is leading us.

Listen, friends, I understand what it’s like to be stretched to the outer limits, where trials, traumas, and tribulations seem to assault us beyond what we think we can endure. But these verses will remind us that we’ve been neither forsaken nor forgotten by God, who purchased us with His own Son’s blood. Does He understand? You know that He does. He supplied the greatest sacrifice ever, and He will stand beside us to encourage us, to hold us, and to help us through anything that He allows to come into our lives. And always keep in mind that life in the Outer Limits is only temporary. What He has prepared for us later on is glorious beyond compare!

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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