This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me. – Psalm 119:50
Here, the psalmist reflects back on difficult seasons when God proved His faithfulness and how it helped and strengthened him. He knows that God’s faithful word has preserved him. Is it not a consistent failure of our hearts and minds that we forget so quickly all the many dangers, toils, and snares that He has already brought us through? We do this so often. We see what we think is a monster before us, an awful and difficult struggle. We fail to look behind us and remember the mountains He has removed and the victories He has already accomplished. We are so prone to do that, but let me encourage you - don’t do that! Remember back sometimes; look back on what God has already brought you through.
The psalmist’s testimony here is that he has been through a valley, and he claimed the promise of God’s word and it worked. He stood on God’s word and had the victory. God brought him through in the past, and he’s much better for it. When you stand on the word while you’re in the valley and it all works out, it breeds new strength within you. Those past experiences become a well you come back to and draw refreshing strength for the future.
How many times as a church family in years passed have we come to a crossroads that was challenging? We had to ask ourselves, can we continue this reformation? Can we really revitalize this church? Can we view things biblically and do things biblically? So many times it was very difficult.
But every time, we always looked at two criteria. Number one, if we make a change, we have to know it’s biblical. Not just a verse or two, but we had to know that the whole balance of systematic teaching of the scriptures supported what we were doing. Secondly, we had to find firm precedent in church history. We are most arrogant if we think we are going to come up with something that 2,000 years of church history has never found. So we looked to the word of God, and then we looked for affirmation in church history. We found those "wells that good and godly men dug in past generations.” We gained great sustaining strength by looking back on the faithfulness of a great cloud of witnesses.
It is so easy for me to come to a challenge in our ministry and despair and lose my hope. But God always reminds me, "What about the last thirty years?" And then I tend to remind God, "But this is different." But no, it’s not different. And do you know why it’s not different? Because God is not different! He’s the same God He always was, and He’s the same God He always will be! So, remember back, drink deeply, and gain hope.