Jesus is funny.
Not ha-ha funny… but funny in how He deals with me.
Like how He randomly slams me with something deep, and hidden in my heart… things I perhaps knew were there but were very far from my consciousness and yet nevertheless a part of the framework of my life.
This morning I was reading through Psalm 121. I’ve been enjoying some new Bible Studies and commentaries, and as I began to dig deeper into this verse, I got smacked.
Right in the face.
Right there in the New Living Bible… verse 6.
It says this: “The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.”
Harmless enough, right?
One author had raised the question, ‘What is there to fear about the moon?” You and I can fully understand what the psalmist was speaking of when he spoke of fearing the harms of the sun. They lived in the desert. They traveled on long journeys with little water and shade. Surely the sun was something to fear.
But what about the moon? In my experience, I have never, ever thought of the moon as something to be afraid of.
But this was not the case in ancient times. Actually, the moon was one of the things they feared the most. The culture and reasoning of the day associated the moon with sickness, disease, health problems, and most importantly, mental illness.
Lunar = Lunacy. Get it?
Some ancient customs called for people to cover the faces of their children at night so the moon could not endanger their life and health. Even Shakespeare talked about the vexing powers of the moon in Othello:
It is the very error of the moon;
She comes more near than she was wont,
And makes men mad.
Now, this might seem silly to you and I… but this was a very real fear for the people of this time. Enough so, that is makes an appearance in this beloved Psalm that reminds us over and over again that the Lord is the PROTECTOR of our lives.
As I sat here this morning, something deep in my heart began to rise to the surface.
God was the protector of my mental health.
Yes, my initial thought was “God will keep me from The Crazy.”
You see, I have a history of depression in my family. My Grandmother was very honest about her struggles with depression because she was quick to confess how Jesus absolutely lifted her out of the pit and healed her mentally.
So, somewhere along the way, this little fear has crept into my heart that I too could fall prey to the grips of depression. My temperament easily leads me there. In seasons of struggle, the enemy of my soul likes to lure me to the cliff of despair and entice me to plummet over the edge. It is a recurring weapon formed against me.
So when I read this morning that the Lord will PROTECT me from the “moon at night…” and realized all that meant… I grabbed a hold of this promise with every inch of my being. I do NOT have to fear the power of depression. I do NOT have to believe the lie that hereditary tendencies and family history are greater than the power of My God.
So, what is your fear? Maybe you think “My dad was an alcoholic, so I guess I will be too.” Or “My parents were divorced, so I guess my chances of a happy marriage are a long shot.” Or even, “My family history means I will probably get cancer.”
Whatever it is that the enemy would whisper to your heart today, let it go. Remember that your help comes from the Lord. He WILL protect you from all harm. He WILL protect your life. Your coming and your going are in His hands.
And let me say this. I understand that in this world we do indeed face depression, sickness, addiction, and divorce. Our tendency is to then think, “Well, Jesus sure isn’t protecting us very well…” Or perhaps you are in the midst of sickness or depression and this verse causes mistrust and anger to rise in you. “Great… God may have promised that He would protect me… but yet here I am… struggling with the very things you say He will protect me from.”
My friend, can I tell you something? Sometimes God protects us FROM things, and other times He protects us IN things. Verses 3 & 4 assure us that He is NOT asleep. He has not forgotten to protect you. He has allowed you to go through a storm for whatever reason His purpose has in mind.
So, this morning, God did not promise me that I will never struggle with depression. He promised me that He will PROTECT me from depression. Big difference.
I may struggle, but I will not be overcome. I may be tempted, but greater is He that is in me. I may have to fight through it, but I will be empowered by the Sovereign Maker of heaven and earth. In my weakness, He WILL be strong.
And so will you. Lean into Him. Throw yourself at the feet of the One who will NOT let your foot slip. Resist the urge to call Him unfaithful. The truth is that His promises are backed by all the honor of His name. You may not understand. You may not know why you are facing what you are facing. But know this. Your God is there.
Both now and forever.