The perspective our lives is often seen in terms of ups and downs. Times are that we are “up” emotionally. Things are going well. We have a bight-minded prospect about how things are transpiring for our lives. After all, mountain experiences are always up-lifting.
However, at other times, we are “down” emotionally and spiritually, because, for whatever reason, our perspectives are focused on certain negatives. A favorite saying of mine from a certain individual who talked about times he had been down was, “I sometimes felt as low as a snake’s belly in a wagon track.” That is an apt description of how people can feel at times.
Do you have a word or statement that describes “down” for you?
Like you, I have had my share of the downs. And, I am quite sure, that, if we had our druthers, the downs would not be so dominant in our souls at times. Sometimes it seems that being down lasts such a long time.
But, the Lord has taught me something through the years that I have come to depend on. It is simply this: when it seems that our downs are staying down, we need to be assured that the Lord is under-girding us.
We learn this from verses of many Scripture. But, none is clearer to me than Deuteronomy 33:27. This verse says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the (His) everlasting arms.” If His arms are underneath us, that means that He under-girds us. He props us up emotionally so that we do not stay down—-or at least go any lower. He brightens our outlook and keeps it steady. He prevents us from giving up and from going off the deep end.
I know this to be true for a particular reason. Times are that I still get to missing our third son, Eran, who went out into eternity August 9th, 2002. My soul gets to hurting. My eyes will well up with tears.
But, in such moments, the Lord makes His presence known in an uncanny way. It is as if He speaks sweet peace to my heart, saying in so many terms, “That is enough now. Remember that I am taking good care of Eran. He has it good here with me. Besides, you will get to see him again. So, do not stay down about him.”
My down only goes so far on that issue because of the under-girding of the Lord. It has been the same as it has involved other issues in my life. My mental image of God is that He has strong, powerful arms, which make Him quite capable of helping any of us with our downs.
If any Bible personage experienced the belly-in-the-wagon-track it had to be the Apostle Paul. He made it clear that he had “trouble.” He was “pressed out of measure,” which meant he had been weighed down heavily. He said he had been “above strength.” He admitted that he “despaired even of life” because it seemed as though he had no way of escape from what he had to endure. Clearly, he experienced a severe season of being down.
But, he did not depend himself — he could not. Rather, he depended upon the Lord’s uplifting ability. The Lord sent deliverance. Paul was so excited about the Lord’s deliverance that he described it as though the Lord had raised him from the dead!
That is a compelling consideration, for it was the under-girding of God that did not let him down. It was under-girding that could be counted on. It was under-girding that was durable for that severe situation. If God’s under-girding can reach that type of dynamic level, we have a great spiritual and emotional resource at hand to minister to those downs we have from time to time.
The Psalmist remarked, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Do not stay down with the downs, for God wants us to be a victorious people, not a defeated people.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.