No matter how hard we try to stay connected with other human beings, there are times in our lives when we find ourselves feeling very much alone and alienated in a hostile world.
Every time I watch or read the news of the day, I feel like my Christian worldview is being squashed by an avalanche of upside-down human reason that is attempting to force lies into truths … black into white … and perversion into holy behavior. The entire end-time leadership apparatus of the world seems to have its heart totally set on worshiping the Spirit of Anti-Christ
At times like that, I retreat into the comfort of some very bedrock, foundational scriptures that give hope and assurance in times of need.
If you read through the Psalms, especially the Psalms of David, you find that David had some times of real insecurity. Even the one person who God called, “a man after My own heart” had times when he felt completely isolated and deserted by other people and even by God Himself (Acts 13:22).
Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Attend to me, and hear me; I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily, because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked; for they bring down trouble upon me, and in wrath they hate me.
My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off and remain in the wilderness. (Ps. 55:1-7)
I’ll admit, this is my approach to times like that in life. I’d just like to fly away … go to my man-cave, or to some imaginary wilderness retreat where I can have rest, and just retreat from the harsh realities of modern-day life.
Guardian of Your Souls
There is another scriptural place we can go for refuge in times like these, when evil seems so oppressive, and those who have taken the reigns of power seem so corrupt there is no escaping their reach.
When Christ was on this earth as a human being, He too found Himself living in a world that hated Him and His worldview. Everything He stood for was alien to the established society of the day. John’s gospel tells us Jesus came into the world as light, and the world loved darkness better, and made Him suffer for it. But He didn’t suffer in vain. He did it for us … to leave an example for us to follow in an age of darkness where we are to be lights as He was.
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps (1 Pet. 2:18-21)
In John 17:18, Jesus prayed to the Father and said, “As you have sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” We’ve been sent much in the same way that Christ was, to show God’s light in a dark world, and we must walk in His footsteps while doing things that are really tough for humans to do.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (2 Pet. 2:21-25)
Our natural response is to do unto others as they do to you. But the key to following the example of Christ may just lie in understanding the real meaning of one word in 1 Peter 2:23. It says that Jesus “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously”
The Greek word translated “committed” is “paradidomi” (G3860), and what it means is to surrender, to give up, to deliver it over to the charge, care or kindness of. That’s what we are to do with ourselves when we commit to the One who judges righteously.
And when we actually do surrender like this and just trust God and His Son to work it all out for good, we leave our old human ways behind, and “return” (the word means to revert back to something, and in several places in the NT is translated “converted”) to the “overseer” of our souls.
The word translated “overseer” is episkopos (G1985). It means, “watchman, superintendent, or guardian.” Look how personal this is brethren. We are simply asked to place ourselves in God’s loving hands, and in doing so, we come under the care of this great Being who set the example by trusting Himself to His Father.
Going back to where we started in Psalm 55, let’s read what David has to say near the end to sum everything up.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. (Ps. 55:22)
David learned, as we all must, to surrender himself into the hands of a loving God who was indeed the Shepherd and Guardian of his soul.