God Will Work Out His Plans for My Life
The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me.
When life goes in directions we didn't expect, and when those directions include suffering and frustration, we can easily become discouraged. We wonder if God has forgotten us. We worry that our lives will sputter out like a car that has run out of gas. We fear we'll end, "not with a bang, but a whimper," to quote T. S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men."
In Psalm 138, David begins by thanking the Lord for his "unfailing love and faithfulness" (138:2). God answered his prayers, even on the very day David offered them (138:3). Even though God is inestimably great, "he cares for the humble" (138:6).
But, as David first composed Psalm 138, he was "surrounded by troubles" and endangered by "the anger of [his] enemies" (138:7). In faith, David said, "The LORD will work out his plans for my life„ںfor your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever" (138:8). David had confidence in God's ultimate purpose for him, which God would fulfill. Thus David did not have to be afraid or discouraged. God would take care of him!
Yet Psalm 138 does not end with a firm confession of trust in God's care. Rather, it concludes with a focused request: "Don't abandon me, for you made me" (138:8). It's as if David's trust in God wavered for a moment. "Lord," he prayed, "you will fulfill your purpose for me. Yes, indeed. Oh, but don't forget me! Don't abandon me!"
Thus Psalm 138 exemplifies the reality of our life in God. It is true that God will work out his plans for us. As Paul writes to the Philippians, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns" (Phil. 1:6). In this truth, we stake our lives. Yet there are times when we aren't so sure. We wonder. We worry. We doubt. Psalm 138 encourages us to not hold back in those times, but to lay before the Lord both our confidence in him and our hesitations. He will take all of these and work them together for his purposes.
Questions for Reflection
When have you been surrounded by troubles? What did you do? How did you pray? What helps you to trust that God will work out his plans for your life? When do you find it hard to trust? How free are you to share with God your deepest fears and doubts, as well as your glad confidence in him?
O Lord, how I relate to David's prayer in Psalm 138. Yes, you have been amazingly good to me. Yes, you have answered my prayers, again and again. Yes, you have proven your care for me over and over.
Thus, when I am surrounded by troubles, I have confidence in you. I know that you will work out your plans for my life. Hallelujah!
And, yet, I can be unsure. I can lose my grip on confidence. Worry and doubt can invade my heart. In times like these, I cry out even as David did, "Don't abandon me, for you made me."
O Lord, may I grow in my trust in you. May I know more deeply that you will work out your plans for my life. May I stop worrying and live each day with greater and more joyful confidence in you.
I pray today for those who are surrounded and who feel as if you have abandoned them. Make your presence known to them. Reassure them by your grace. Let them know that you are, indeed, working out your plans for their lives.
All praise be to you, O Lord, because your faithful love endures forever...even for me! Amen.