You Have a Keeper, His Name is Yahweh

The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.”  Jonah 2:5

Overwhelmed.  That’s how I felt.  I remember crying out to the Lord and through sobs—the kind that take your breath away—confess that I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the present storms in my life.  Like Jonah, the waters of my present circumstances were closing in over me, and despair surrounded me.  I felt like I was walking around with seaweed wrapped about my head, evidence that the storms in my life were about to swallow me whole.

Do you ever feel like you are walking around with seaweed wrapped about your head?  I might be the only one, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that many God-fearing ladies can relate to feelings of despair that leave them tempted to lose heart.  I might be the only one, but I think that many of us can recount times when the storms have been so intense that we’ve been tempted to give into the Devil’s lie that God has left us to fend for ourselves, or if not that, struggling to find joy amidst the rapids.  I might be the only one, but I think that just maybe the majority of us have, at one point or another, felt defeated, helpless, and absolutely ashamed that we’re even struggling with such feelings.

Are you reading this now while wading waist deep in your own storm?  You are in good company.  I know from personal experience that sometimes you just need someone to whisper truth into your ear—truth you know to be true in your heart and mind but you feel your foot slipping and your strength weakening.   May I offer you a dry towel, help you wrap that seaweed from round your head, and be the one to remind you, my sweet sister in Christ, that you have a Keeper, and His Name is Yahweh. 

During my own personal struggle with despair, the Lord used Psalm 121 to deliver me and restore my hope and joy.  I remember reading these precious words—The Lord is your Keeper—for the first time and the seaweed slowly began to unravel from my head. Taken straight from Psalm 121:5, this phrase has become my hope’s anthem and it is my prayer that you too will find freedom in these words.

Psalm 121 is part of a compilation of fifteen psalms (120-134) that are known as the Psalms of Ascent.  It is no coincidence that these psalms were sung by exiles returning to Jerusalem from captivity.  Within these fifteen psalms, believers will find account after account of God delivering His people from the clutches of defeat.  And sweet sisters, after you discover its truth-telling words, I have no doubt that you too will be lifting your weary hands in victory.  So get comfortable and allow me to share with you two precious truths from this psalm that I believe will be like a breath of fresh air after all that salt water you’ve been consuming.

The Lord is for you. 

Somewhere in the deep crevasses of our feminine hearts, I think that while we don’t necessarily think that God is against us, we don’t necessarily feel as if He is for us either.  Oh, we know and can quote verses such as Psalm 121:1-2 that say, “I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”  But when the storms come, let’s be honest.  Our physical actions and emotional reactions to the waves sometimes speak a different story.  I dare say that we often determine whether or not God is for us based upon our present circumstances.  How convinced are you that God is for you?  How convinced are you that you can trust Him at His word with your anxieties, fears, and insecurities?  How convinced are you that He, the Maker of heaven and earth, will fight for you?    The truth is, sweet sister, God is not against us nor does He simply tolerate us.  Sweet sister, the Lord is for you!  Our God is for us, in good times and bad, every time, forever and always.  In Joshua 23:10, God reminds the Israelite leaders that it is the Lord their God who fights for them.  He makes you the same promise.   Romans 8:28-39 is a precious picture of what God will do for you.  Here’s just a glimpse:

Beloved, I will make sure all things work together for your good!  Beloved, I have called you, I will justify you, and I will glorify you.  Beloved, I will graciously give you all things according to My will for your life.  Beloved, I will let nothing, no not one thing, separate you from me.  Beloved, I will love you and fight for you now and always. 

Dear ones, if it had not been for the Lord, then I would most assuredly still be chained to my own struggle with despair.  But, oh my soul!  He has NOT given us up to swim through the storms alone.  He is not against us.  He does not simply tolerate us.  Our help is in the Name of the Lord!  We can say with confidence that we never once nor never will walk alone.  For the Lord is for us. 

The Lord is your Keeper.

I briefly shared earlier that these words have lavishly brought rest upon my weary soul during an intense season of despair.  Allow me a moment to delve into the richness of this phrase a little more in hopes that you too will find the same comfort.  The word “to keep” literally means to guard, watch over, preserve, tend to, and protect.  Sweet sister, God promises in these eight verses that He will watch over you, tend to you, guard you, protect you, preserve you, and keep you in His care, now and forevermore.  Does anyone need to say a little prayer of thanksgiving right now?  Oh mercy!  If that doesn’t quiet your heart a little bit, I don’t know what would!

When we keep our gaze fixed upon the One who is enthroned over everything that troubles our hearts, we are able to hear truth.  And as a living testimony of God’s deliverance from deep despair, this has a tremendous impact on how I reacted to the Devil’s lies and the thundering storms in life.

Because we are children of the One enthroned above heaven and earth, we can live with the kind of confidence that when the engulfing storms rage, the deep closes in, and the seaweed threatens, that we can simply lift our eyes to the hills and say with quiet hearts, “I have a Keeper, His Name is Yahweh” (Psalm 121:5).   Because we serve a God that promises that nothing operates outside of His sovereign will, we can say, “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:7).  And because we serve a God who has promised that He is for us, darling, we can raise our weary hands in victory and shout, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are filled with joy!” (Psalm 126:3).

Beloved, you have a Keeper.  Rest in that promise and allow your spirit to be calmed and quieted with His goodness.  From one sister in Christ to another, believe me.  The engulfing waters will subside, overflowing peace will come, and joy and freedom and hope await you as you look to Him.  Know I will be praying for each and every one of you.  Also, I would like to share with you a poem that I wrote after the Lord restored my hope and joy.  It is an adaptation of Psalm 121, and I pray that it blesses you.

I have a Keeper; His Name is YHWH.

I lift up my eyes to the mountaintops while my feet are still planted in the valley.

Where does your help come from, darling?

His Name is Yahweh.

And He is your keeper.

He will keep your foot from slipping.

He will not slumber.

Beloved, He does not take His eyes off you!

He will guard you, keep you, tend to you, protect you, watch over you.

HE WILL PRESERVE YOU!

For He is your keeper, your shelter, your shade.

Neither the sun nor the moonstruck fantasies will strike you;

nay, they will not destroy you.

For the LORD will keep you from all, all, all evil.

HE.  WILL.  KEEP.  YOUR.  LIFE.

He will keep your life-your going out and your coming in-

from this moment in time and always.