Jesus’ big promise sets the stage: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Matthew 5:12
And St. Paul reminds us that because we’ve tasted God’s goodness, we know we can trust him to come through on his promises: “Let us hold fast to our confession of hope, for he who promised is trustworthy.” Hebrews 10:23
OK, so what has God promised, anyway?
Sometimes it’s hard to keep his promises in mind, especially when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
King David to the rescue! David’s petitions to God in Psalm 31 tell us exactly what God offers us at every moment if we keep seeking him.
In you, O Lord, I take refuge.
Let me never be put to shame.
“Shame” in the Old Testament usually meant disappointment. So, if we hope in God, we’ll never be disappointed because we trust that God knows what’s best for us in the long run. Disappointment comes when we put our hope for happiness in ourselves and other people.
God is also our refuge from the kind of shame that makes us feel unworthy of love — because that’s not of God, but from our enemy.
In your justice, set me free,
God promises us freedom. And what does freedom mean? It means freedom to do good, instead of being caught in the trap of looking for love in the wrong places.
hear me and speedily rescue me.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a mighty stronghold to save me,
God promises us salvation — to save us from hell and bring us to himself in heaven.
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
For your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
If we ask him, we always can count on God’s guidance, whether we feel it happening or not.
Release me from the snares they have hidden
for you are my refuge, Lord.
A friend described God’s “refuge” as a branch held out to her as she is carried downstream — something solid to hold onto in turbulent waters.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
It is you who will redeem me, Lord.
For David, redemption (paying the price for our sins) was in the future. But for us, it’s a glorious reality.
O God of truth, you detest
those who worship false and empty gods.
The Magisterium, or “teaching authority” of the Church will never lead us into error in faith or morals (what to believe or what is the right thing to do). Have you opened the Catechism of the Catholic Church lately? It’s a goldmine of love and understanding.
As for me, I trust in the Lord:
let me be glad and rejoice in your love.
David knew God’s love and knew it as the source of everything good in himself and others. One way he guarantees us his love is by his Commandments, which show us how to love (and avoid harm) of ourselves and everyone else.
You have seen my affliction and taken heed of my soul’s distress, have not handed me over to the enemy, but set my feet at large.
God promises that in his eyes, we will always be seen and heard. And he promises that we will enjoy the freedom of the children of God — if only we will accept that great gift.