A Watchful God

My four year old announced to me the other day, while eating her soggy cereal, that she had dreamed the night before. "What did you dream about?" I asked. (she always remembers her dreams with precise detail) "I dreamed that Jesus was laying beside me, but he fell asleep because he got bored." "He got bored?" I asked with a chuckle (at this point I think she might have been stretching the dream a bit). "Yea, he got bored so he went to sleep." "But Jesus doesn't sleep," I said. "The Bible says our God never sleeps, that he always watches over us." I still don't know if she really dreamed about Jesus, but that conversation got me thinking.

Psalms 121 happens to be my favorite chapter in the Bible. When I have been in my darkest and lowest moments of life, that is where I have gone for assurance that my God is watching over me and I am not forgotten.

"I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? 
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 
He will not let you stumble. 
The one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. 
The Lord himself watches over you. 
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. 
The sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. 
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forevermore." 

Whether we admit it or not, all of us are wired with the need for protection. We are, after all, frail humanity. I admit, in the moments that I run to this reminder of God's protection, I am usually conflicted by his promise and the circumstances that surround me. I run to these words when I am afraid, alone and confused. I do not run to this promise when I "have things under control." The truth, though, is that I am always in need of his watchful eye and powerful presence. I need this assurance that he never sleeps, or turns his face from me. I need this assurance desperately.

What we all crave is a safe place. A place of rest and peace. The only place that is found is in the shadow of our God's mighty presence. You and I cannot craft safety and peace on our own. We are constantly surrounded by the snare of flesh and bones....but we can look up, and we can remember that the God we worship is ever watchful and ever faithful to protect. God's protection does not always meet our immediate, physical need or desire. Sometimes God is protecting us from ourselves. Sometimes he is protecting our soul rather than our flesh. Sometimes, the harm coming at us is far more spiritual and eternal than physical.

I cannot begin to know the emotional, physical, mental or spiritual protection you might be needing. I do know that God knows. He know...and He watches over you carefully. There is nothing that escapes his watchful gaze. There is no tear that you shed when you sit alone in fear and confusion that he does not see. I believe that He not only sees, but He weeps with you. Do not be deceived by the enemies lie that God doesn't care. Do not be deceived. God's desire for you runs deep and he cares too much to turn His face away from you in your anguish. Your mistakes and flaws do not push Him away, they only draw Him closer. Whatever you face today, I can say with boldness and certainty that God is watching and will keep you. He has seen your past, He sees your present and He sees your future. His desire is that we trust, that we surrender. I have faced many moments of surrender in my life already. I have raised my fist to Him in anger before, accusing Him of forgetting me, or turning his face from me, but I know now that none of that is true. When I have been caught up in the hurt and anger of my moment, He was working in ways I cannot fathom; protecting me and working for my good. I will never see what He sees or think like He thinks and so the only option for me is surrender. When I doubt, I come back to Psalms 121 and I remember...I remember that my God never forgets me, that He is always shielding me, protecting me. I remember that He never sleeps...

He never sleeps...and we can rest in that truth.


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