The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
The fact that God is an eternal God should give us hope. The fact that He has always existed and always will exist is the most comforting thought that I experience tonight. But why is this a comforting and hopeful thought? Because it means that it does not matter what I face, I have access to someone who has total control over everything that occurs because He is eternal. I have a rock that has stood the test of time because He is eternal. I have a God who makes Himself felt in a real way to those who call on him. Tonight as I have such hope, I wonder, where do you put your hope? For some it may be in a person, a job, status, money or education. I just want to challenge you because in this life, you will surely have hardship and tribulation and how you handle it depends on where your hope is found.
Consider that in this life we will suffer tribulation. Jesus said that we must suffer in this life. John 16:33 says that “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Paul also mentioned this when he said in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—” The only way that Paul could say so was because he saw the eternal God; Christ himself exalted and seated at the right hand of God the Father. What does this mean for me? That even in the midst of my father’s death, I can experience joy, peace and rest.
What’s more is that I have God’s everlasting arms to comfort me. The arms of my earthly father have disappeared. That’s the way God meant it to be. You see, earthly things will perish and only the eternal will last. I thank God for my earthly father and especially at this time, I rejoice in my eternal Father who sustains me with his everlasting arms. On top of all this, God says that He will thrust out the enemy before me and destroy him. Death is an enemy. Death was the result of man’s fall in the Garden. Hebrews 9:11 says that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Yes, you who are reading this will die at some point and so will I. So knowing that we will face the judgment of God, doesn’t it make sense to have our hearts prepared? How you may ask?
Romans 10:13 states that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” In other words, we must learn to lean on and depend on the Lord and allow Him to help us to live. If I called on my earthly father he would always come and help me regardless of what the need was. In the same way, God the Father desires us to call on him in every need and every situation. By doing this we start to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
The last thing that I focus on in this verse and that my heart rejoices over, is that death has been thrust out. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1Corinthians 15:54-55. When a loved one dies we begin to say things that are not true. E.g. when I first heard that daddy had collapsed and was not responding, I broke down in tears and said, “My daddy is gone.” The entire day I kept saying “I can’t believe he is gone” only to hear God say that is not true. Whenever I am tempted to say, daddy is gone, I quickly add “To Heaven.”
Sometimes we see death as the final step in the journey. But that is the farthest thing from the truth. It is just the beginning of the life to come. It is the start of life in eternity being present with God. 2 Corinthians 5:8talks about when we are absent in the body we are present with the Lord. That speaks to a life that continues even after our bodies no longer have life in themselves. So as I think on these things, my heart rejoices that my earthly father and I will see each other again and that this is not the final goodbye but I am also challenged to ask the question to all who remain, where is your hope found? Is it in the eternal God our refuge? Are you carried by His everlasting arms? Is it your reality that the enemy of death has been thrust out before you? Will you spend your eternity with God?