“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
-Psalm 27:13, NKJV
One of my favorite verses of all time. It’s clearly poetic—that is, it’s a Psalm and the words are pretty—but more than that, it’s incredibly true. After reading it a hundred times, today it sort of grabbed hold of me in a new way.
I’d never thought of it like this before, but the question came to mind: is it really true that I would have lost heart had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living? I can think of times in my life where the answer would have been a reluctant, shameful “no.” That is, at those times I could have seen my life going fine without the goodness of the Lord. I might have thought, “I’m talented. I’m smart. I have lots of close friends and a supportive family. I’ll be fine.” And what a shameful, ignorant, dangerous delusion that was.
But the only way to get rid of that delusion is with trial by fire. God has to crush you or else you will never know how ineffectual your talent, friends, and family can be. It’s a frightening thing and I’ve often prayed that I could learn my lessons without pain. I’m sure that God has graciously answered that prayer more times than I know, but it’s the times that he hasn’t answered it that I remember most—the heartbreak, the getting fired, the losing a friend, and so on. Those things hurt. But they teach me that I can’t make it on my own. Now I know, and I can now read the Psalm and with all my heart proclaim, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” The goodness of the Lord is my only hope. I’m desperate for it.