One of my biggest fears in life has been that I wouldn’t have what it takes to fulfill God’s purposes for my life. I have feared that God would trust me with something only to throw it all away because I made one big, irreparable mistake. I have been paralyzed by decisions I’ve had to make because I feared they would drastically alter the course of my life in a negative way. I have wondered if God would be there for me when I need Him most. I’ve feared that He would forsake me because I didn’t measure up to what He thought I would be.
Then I read Psalm 37 and all of the fear, anxiety and depression that used to rule my life suddenly vanishes at the sight of this unshakable truth. David, the man after God’s own heart, digs deep here into what it means to live fully without fear of abandonment by God. And as much as David was a man after God’s own heart, he was by no means a perfect man. He committed adultery and was well acquainted with depression and the feeling that he’d thrown away everything God had given Him. So I trust David’s words and insight. And when I read this Psalm, I realize that God is infinitely bigger than our mistakes.
There’s no one small decision that will rip us from the love of God. David writes, “though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong.” In Acts 1:18-19 Peter says that Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, “acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle.” That means that Judas used the money the Pharisees gave him for betraying Jesus to purchase some land. But instead of reaping from the land and dwelling in it for years to come, he fell while walking through the land and was impaled and died.
Look at the first part of the Psalm. It says to trust in God and His faithfulness. It says to dwell in the land. It says to delight in just who God is. Our primary duty as sons and daughters of God is to love and trust God for who He is. No more. No less. If you do this then “he will give you the desires of your heart” because you will want what He wants. And when you delight in His way instead of yours David says that “the steps of a man are established by the LORD.” You see, every single one of Jesus’ disciple’s messed up big time. They all denied Him. They all forsook Him at the cross. None of them really understood who He was when He was right in front of their faces. So why did Peter, James, John and others go on to become the founders of the Church and the pioneers of our faith while Judas bled out in a field? Because Jesus knew their hearts. He saw that their hearts were good and truly loved Him as friend and teacher, but they were afraid. Judas didn’t truly love Jesus. He loved himself and money more. So every disciple fell, but Jesus upheld the ones who truly delighted in Him. He let the one who didn’t fall.
So stop thinking fatalistically about your life. Your future is not predicated on one mistake you may or may not make in the next 5 minutes. In the last sentence of this scripture David writes that he has NEVER seen the righteous forsaken. NEVER. If you spend your whole life loving God the best you know how, He considers you a saint. A saint that He will never let go of and “upholds his hand”. If you mess up one time you haven’t abandoned God’s will for your life (go read Romans 8:28), but if you truly love and are devoted to Christ the Holy Spirit will convict you and lead you to repent of your sin so that you may enter back into communion with God again. He won’t let you fall. He won’t let you stray. He loves you too much. All you have to do is delight in Him.