Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
From a young age, we are taught to believe in ourselves. The story about the train who had to encourage himself with words of validation and motivation is probably familiar to all of us. If he could just convince himself that he was able, then he would be able. If he confessed enough that he could conquer that hill, then that hill would be conquered. There certainly is value in the lesson that we can have belief that goes beyond what we see, but we must be careful in how we apply that. We see how easy it is in this world to take a motivational concept such as this and turn it into a mantra of misplaced self-empowerment. It can become a dangerous focus on the self without acknowledgment of the One who makes us able in the first place.
God taught David lessons through trial, and He will do the same with us. We are to find our protection in him, but that can be realized only when we are faced with situations that expose our vulnerabilities. We learn the shelter of God only when we meet times requiring that shelter. Finding stability on the rock that is the Lord comes when we find that our stability in ourselves is not sufficient. God must erode the faux foundations we create to show us their faults and weaknesses. David had to confront the things he was powerless to do in order to learn reliance on God’s power. These trials which served to break his dependence on self really were there to increase his dependence on God.
There are plenty of scriptures confirming that God wants us to walk in power. He wants his people to be strong and mighty, but that comes only by recognizing and relying on the right source, which is never ourselves. We must remember that everything is for his glory. When God’s people are victorious, it is his hand that gets raised. Those in the world who recognize the power and abilities of the Church should be brought to worship the God to whom the Church belongs. The imperfect saints can do all only by the grace of their perfect Lord. Father, makes us a people who know and praise the source of our strength, relying on You to protect and empower.