Assurance of God’s Protection
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the HOLY ONE,
who made heaven and earth.
God will not let your foot be moved;
God who keeps you will not slumber.
God who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The HOLY ONE is your keeper;
the HOLY ONE is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The HOLY ONE will keep you from all evil;
God will keep your life.
The HOLY ONE will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore.
There is a big difference between having and
keeping. For instance, I have a favorite hooded
sweatshirt—the Chicago Cubs one that you probably
see me wearing all the time. This is my possession.
However, unlike my sweatshirt, I keep my dog,
Silas. He is not a mere possession; he is my pup, my
companion, my beloved dog. He is dear to me: I watch
over him, not just for my own sake and with my own
interests in mind, but for his sake, too. I love
Silas, and protect him from harm, because if he
suffers, it hurts me too.
Likewise, God, the Creator, does not merely possess
us. God, instead, keeps us. God engages with
us. God woos us and dances with us through this gift
we call life. We are God’s beloved, and immeasurably
dear to God. We are not propertied possessions in
the eyes of God, nor pawns in the game of life. We
are, most importantly, not instruments in and
through which God purposefully inflicts pain or
suffering to “teach us a lesson” or to “make God’s
In fact, quite the opposite is true. We are the
children, the companions, of a God who understands
suffering, who knows distinctly the experience of
pain. Psalm 121 reminds us that God does not merely
have or own us: God keeps us and relates to
us as God’s own.
the repetitiousness forms of “keep?” As often as we feel
ourselves “lose our grip” on God, it is nice to know that God does
not lose God’s grip on us. We may find peace knowing that we need
not base our identities, both individual and communal, on the
assumption that we need to have a firm hold on all things, and get
everything “right.” Rather, we need to remember that even after we
were beautifully made, God proclaimed we are also good. Thus, we can
release ourselves into rejuvenating rest because we know God’s
watchful eye and creative hand never let us go.
Friends, while there may be pain—and yes, even death— in this
journey, we do not go alone. There will be hardship, trouble, and
there will be danger, but God is with us, will never forget us, and
will always, yes always, love us on this journey we call
So, take a breath knowing that as you do, God is keeping you. There
is much good waiting to be found along the way.
Something my pal Silas reminds me of every time we go for a walk.
[Adam Quinn, First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]