We often view our lives in terms of ups and downs. Times are that we are “up” emotionally. Things are going well. We have a bright-minded prospect about how things are transpiring for our lives. After all, mountain-top living experiences are always up-lifting.
Other times we are “down” emotionally or spiritually because, for whatever reasons, our perspectives are on the negative end of the scale. A favorite saying from a member of the Willow Island Church I pastored near St. Marys, West Virginia, for so many years was, “I sometimes feel as low as a snake’s belly in a wagon track.” While that sounds western-ish, it nonetheless describes “down” in poignant terms. Do you have a word or statement that describes “down” for you?
Like you, I have had my share of 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. When it seems that our down keeps on going down, we sometimes need to be assured that the Lord is under-girding us.
We learn this from many verses of Scripture, but none is more clear than Deuteronomy 33:27, which says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are His everlasting arms.” If His arms are underneath us, that means He under-girds us. He props us emotionally so that we cannot go any lower. He holds us spiritually so that we cannot go any lower. He keeps our outlook steady. He prevents us from giving up and going off the deep end.
I know this to be very true. 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. I sometimes well up with tears. But, then the Lord makes His presence known. He speaks sweet peace to my heart, “That’s enough now. I am taking good care of Eran. He has it good here with me. You will get to see him again. Do not get too down.”
My down only goes so far on that issue because the Lord under-girds me. It is the same as it involves other issues in my life. My mental image of God is that He has strong, powerful arms, which makes 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 said he had “trouble.” He was “pressed out of measure,” meaning that he was weighed down heavily. He was “above strength.” He “despaired even of life” because it seemed as though he had no way of escape from what he was having to endure. Sounds like he experienced a severe season of being down.
But, he did not depend upon himself – he could not. Rather, he depended upon the Lord, who sent deliverance to him. 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 under-girding from God that did not let down. It was under-girding that could be counted on. It was under-girding that was durable for the most 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.” Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation. But, be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
Do not be dominated by the downs. You and I will get down, for sure. We just need to remain assured that the Lord capably under-girds us. God wants us to be a victorious people, not a defeated people.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and ministers in the local area.