Pain

They called him Old Hickory because of his tenacity and grit. His mother chose Andrew on March 15, 1767, when she gave birth to that independent-minded South Carolina rebel. Wild, quick-tempered, and disinterested in school, Andrew answered the call for soldiers to resist the British invasion at age thirteen. Shortly thereafter, he was taken prisoner. Refusing to black an enemy officer’s boots, he was struck with a saber—Andrew’s introduction to pain.

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Apprehension

The scene is familiar: a hospital lobby with all the trimmings . . . soft sofas and folded newspapers . . . matching carpets and drapes illumined by eerie lighting . . . a uniformed lady at the desk, weary from answering the same questions . . . strange smells . . . and lots of people. Everywhere there are people. A steady stream pours in and out, the faces marked by hurry and worry.

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Asking God for Help

David’s dark song, Psalm 142, concludes with a final request and a bold prediction. Bring my soul out of prison, So that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, For You will deal bountifully with me. (142:7) In 142:5–6, David asked the Lord to change his circumstances: to deal justly with his persecutors and to honor His promise to make David king.

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A Species of Wonder

David’s song about the Lord’s attributes includes a celebration of human life, proof of God’s creative genius. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (139:14) Isn’t this true? We are a species of wonder. No one would argue that the human body is a phenomenal combination of strength, beauty, coordination, grace, and balance on the outside.

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God’s Skill as Creator

Psalm 139 links us with God. This song, like few other passages of Scripture, connects us with our Creator. It answers four of the most frequently asked questions that come to our minds about God: 1. How well does God know me? (139:1–6) 2. How close is God to me? (139:7–12) 3. How carefully has God made me? (139:13–18) 4. How much will God protect/help me? (139:19–24)

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God Controls the Details

In David’s song about the amazing attributes of God, he marvels at God’s ability to remain in complete control of His universe. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (139:5–6) The Lord remains in complete control of the smallest details of His creation; He is all-knowing and all-powerful.

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Freedom in Truth

Ants, conies, locusts, and lizards offer very significant illustrations of virtues everyone can apply to their life. These four animals also demonstrate how to escape the daily grind of excuse making. These four diverse creatures share a common predicament: they are relatively small, fairly powerless, and easily destroyed. But these species continue to thrive because, for each, a particular virtue more than offsets their disadvantages:

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Adversity versus Prosperity

Whether or not you realize it, life is a perpetual struggle to maintain balance between various opposing forces. Over the next few days, we will examine some common extremes that threaten to pull us off balance. The first is the tug-of-war between adversity and prosperity. When reflecting on the effects of adversity, the sages of Israel wrote, If you are slack in the day of distress, Your strength is limited. (24:10)

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A Tactical Advantage

Having predicted your success in battle against the attacks of the devil (Psalm 91:5–10), this Psalm continues with several commitments from the Lord. He has promised to give you a tactical advantage, which the songwriter enumerates in the final verses. Assistance against Evil. God has promised to send angelic assistance when we face attacks from supernatural realms.

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God in Your Midst

The psalmist’s reaction to nature in upheaval was, “I will not fear” (Psalm 46:2–3). His response to feelings of personal weakness continues in Psalm 46 with a change of scene, which prompts another resolution. I Will Not Be Moved. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

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